Anu Solomon has certainly taken the PAC-12 by storm as a freshman. Was this performance expected inside the program and what makes him so effective?
Kevin: There was quite a bit of hype built up for Solomon last season. Sports Illustrated put him on a list of instant-impact freshmen before he was redshirted, but we didn't know much about how he'd do. Coming off a game against UCLA where he struggled quite a bit, it's clear he's going to have some ups and downs this year, but Arizona fans knew Solomon would be working with one of the best groups of receivers UA has had in a long time. We knew that would help him out.
Solomon is still working on his accuracy, but so far he's been most effective throwing on the move and in awkward positions. That has created a read option in the passing game to go with the run read-option, and while he's not the fastest guy, he can scramble if defenses don't respect the run.
More Colorado - Arizona
Last year, Scooby Wright and Addison Gillam were two of the best freshman in the country. One has dropped off (Gillam) and one has continued getting better. Does Scooby Wright "make the defense work" and how is the rest of the defense doing?
Kevin: A lot of people will quibble about the 3-3-5 because it's small up front, but it really has a unique way of bending but not breaking. Jeff Casteel has been good about blitzing only when he needs to -- late in games and in the red zone -- and there haven't been many busted plays this season. Wright is important considering the scheme. He's a middle linebacker by most standards, but he's often times acting as the fourth lineman who will challenge offensive linemen and get into the backfield.
Who is one underrated player to watch on defense? On offense?
Kevin: William Parks has been banged up but is a solid hybrid safety who is big enough and speedy enough in run support but also can drop back into coverage. On offense, Samajie Grant is probably the third-most talented receiver behind the big outside guys, Cayleb Jones and Austin Hill. Grant plays inside receiver and has been very solid all year. He probably should see a few more balls his way.
What's the best way to stop this offense and move the ball against this defense?
Kevin: Stop the run early and get early points to put pressure on Arizona. If Colorado can get enough pressure without too many players in the box, that'll force Solomon to throw the ball a bit more. The Wildcats didn't get any real rhythm in the run game over the last four quarters, and UCLA did enough to keep Solomon off his game. There were quite a few three-and-outs as Solomon struggled. Worse case, the Wildcats' passing game is rolling -- but if the run game picks up, the Buffs won't have much of a shot.
Offensively, I'd expect that Colorado should get Sefo Liufau rolling early. Arizona will allow him to have time in the pocket, and it'll be up to him to find the open man and then make the throw. The Buffs should be good enough to move the ball with a lot of emphasis on the passing game. With that said, they might want to pull out a few tricks when they get in the red zone.
How do you see this game playing out?
Kevin: I think both teams will put up enough points, but it would be surprising to me if Arizona comes out with a stinker at home coming off a loss where there were enough things to correct this past week. It's tough to think the Wildcats won't score a bit against Colorado's young defense. Call it a 52-28 UA win.
Would you rather be 3 feet taller or 3 feet shorter?
Kevin: Had to think quite a long time on this one. I'll go with taller. In any case, I'd probably have health problems. In any case, people would stare. But nobody messes with a big dude.