College Football Week 2: #18 Oklahoma State At Arizona
- CoachingMike Gundy is the man. He’s 45. (Is that joke old yet?) And yet he’s lost just three games over the last two seasons. Gundy is an offensive wizard, though he gives the keys to a true freshman quarterback this season, quite the change from 28-year-old Brandon Weeden a season ago.Rich Rodriguez was revered in West Virginia—where his teams won two BCS bowls—until he bolted for Michigan. You probably know about how his three years in Ann Arbor went (if not: very poorly), but Arizona seems like a good fit for the spread offense guru.
- OffenseWes Lunt, 10 years younger than the quarterback he replaced, was a perfect 11-for-11 in his college debut. But it was against one of the worst teams FBS programs, Savannah State. The Cowboys won 84-0 but we won’t know how good Lunt and company really are until Saturday rolls around. The guess here is that they are still going to be in the top offensively, though not quite as good as the past few years.Unlike in his previous coaching stops, Rodriguez inherited a true dual-threat quarterback capable of running his preferred offense in senior Mike Scott. The Wildcats tallied 624 yards of offense but committed three turnovers and missed two short field goals.
- DefenseAs previously noted, the Cowboys pitched a shutout in Week 1, but ignore that. This was not a great defense last year; it employed a “bend don’t break” philosophy, hence the disparity in yards allowed versus points allowed. Expecting this unit to cause 40+ turnovers, as it did last season, may be unrealistic.Rodriguez remembered to bring trusty defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel to Tucson (he forgot about him in Ann Arbor). That means Arizona will play a 3-3-5; how quickly the Wildcats adjust will determine how much the unit improves this season.
- Special TeamsQuinn Sharp is one of the best special teams players in the country. He’s an exceptional placekicker and punter.Arizona’s two missed field goals were alarming. With an offense expected to gain a lot of yards, the Wildcats can’t come away from long drives without anything to show for it.
It is reasonable to expect Arizona will have success under Rodriguez, but an upset on Saturday doesn’t seem likely. Lunt may have some freshman moments in his first game against a capable opponent, but he has enough weapons at his disposal to make up for any mistakes.