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Behind Enemy Lines: Arizona Wildcats

Previewing the Buffs’ road game against the ‘Cats

NCAA Football: Arizona at California Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

To preview the Colorado Buffaloes’ (0-4) upcoming game against the Arizona Wildcats (2-2), we exchanged questions and answers with Brian J. Peterson of AZ Desert Swarm. You can read their side of the interview on their website.

1. Arizona has seemed to turn the first corner under Jedd Fisch. There’s still plenty of work, sure, but the optimism seems to be there. What has changed so quickly from last year to this year?

Simply put, roster overhaul and talent upgrade. There are 51 new players from a year ago, the product of some great transfer pickups and the best recruiting class in at least 15 years.

This is especially the case on offense, where the quarterback, 75 percent of the running back rotation, two-thirds of the starting receivers and the most prolific tight end are all newcomers.

2. Jayden De Laura is a fun player to watch, but he can be inconsistent. Is there any way to predict when Jayden will go off the rails or is it a dice roll every game?

This last game against Cal was a weird one in that de Laura threw for a career high in yards but also turned it over three times, yet all three giveaways were once Arizona was down two scores. He’s got a little bit of Patrick Mahomes at Texas Tech in him, where when the Wildcats are behind he feels like he can’t afford not to produce points and forces things. But after refusing to run in the loss to Mississippi State, despite having ample chances, he’s used his legs the last two games and it’s really opened things up for the offense, which is averaging 31 points and 6.89 yards per play in that span.

3. Not much has been mentioned of Arizona’s defense this year. Has that unit improved since a dreadful 2021 campaign (sorry) or is it more of the same?

The defense should be better than a year ago, and early on it looked that way. But the last two games the Wildcats have allowed 637 rushing yards—sound familiar?—and the tackling has become a huge red flag. There’s a lot of experience on that side of the ball but most guys don’t seem to be getting better.

4. Who is the player to watch on offense? What about on defense?

Lot of choices on offense, but the one that’s standing out that doesn’t have the hype of being a newcomer/transfer is WR Dorian Singer. A former walk-on, he didn’t play until the final half of last season but in nine career games has 588 yards on 41 catches, including this one:

5. We know CU will lose this game. Who should CU hire as their next head coach?

Since the NFL for some reason doesn’t think Eric Bienemy is worthy of a head coaching gig, why not try to pull his alma mater out of the muck?