Posted by Chip Patterson
On the surface, it has to be exciting as an Arizona fan to know that your starting quarterback, running back, and top four receivers from 2010 are returning for another campaign in 2011. But a closer look at the Wildcats reveals many more question marks past that. Replacing all five offensive lineman and six defensive starters is no easy task, and experience was an early topic for head coach Mike Stoops at Pac-12 Media Days.
"Offensively with the area of inexperience on the offensive line, we hope that that experience that we have at quarterback and receiver will help balance on out the inexperience we have on the offensive line," Stoops explained. But [the guys on the offensive line] are very athletic and very hard working, and I believe they can be more talented than the group that we had a year ago, and we're going to have to mold this group."
Other highlights from Arizona's time with the media in Los Angeles:
- While the defense is also inexperienced, Stoops believes that the strength in the unit will come from the back seven. He has faith with seniors Derek Earls and Paul Vassallo anchoring the unit that the linebackers could be his strongest position.
- Stoops addressed Juron Criner's personal issues, and things appear to be looking good for the fall. Criner had gone home to deal with some personal issues with his mother, and Stoops says that Criner feels much better about his mother's condition. Having Criner's size and playmaking ability will be crucial for Foles, particularly if he has to get the ball out early due to a green offensive line.
- Arizona was picked by the media to finish 4th in the Pac-12 South. Stoops, who has led the Wildcats to three straight bowl appearances, pointed out that the media never picks Arizona high - so it's not an unusual position.