Before beginning my career as a sports writer, I was fortunate enough to be college athlete in the Conference USA, playing football for UTSA (University of Texas at San Antonio). The relevance of me sharing this is that I was starter on the team for four years, and my last two years we competed against the Arizona Wildcats.
What to Expect?
Rich Rodriguez loves to push the pace with his high tempo RPO (Run-Pass Option) offense. This offense really believes that putting their best athletes in space is the key to success. They are a “take what you give me” style ball club, meaning that if the run is working, the quarterback will give the ball to the running back every time and vice-versa with the pass.
This offense allows the quarterback to make easy decisions and quick reads, which limits the possibility of mistakes. Arizona’s offense is also very reactive to what the defense is running against them. They seem to have a plan for every defensive look they are given, therefore, it will be important for the Trojans to disguise their coverages before the snap. The Wildcats like to take a deep shot or a trick play every 2-3 possessions to try and catch the defense napping.
The game-plan should be relatively simple for the Trojans’ defense. The most important task for their defense this week is for everyone to be disciplined and complete their assignments every play. The Wildcats’ offense will capitalize if someone on the defense makes a mistake, especially in the secondary. I anticipate the Trojans staying in their base defense because the offense will be moving so fast, which is the smartest scheme to compete against Arizona. The defensive-ends and the cornerbacks will have to play well because the Wildcats like to put stress on those positions.
In my senior football season, we (UTSA) fell to Arizona 26-23 because they capitalized on 2 big play touchdowns due to lack of discipline on two specific plays. We were able to contain the offense for most of the game but credit to the Wildcats for capitalizing on defensive mishaps. The Trojans’ are on a roll right now and I fully expect them to avenge my loss with a win against the Wildcats in impressive fashion. I am not afraid to display my obvious bias for the Trojans this week. Go Trojans!