2009 Arizona Wildcats Football Preview
2009 Arizona Wildcats season preview from Maddux Sports. Below you can find our official Arizona Wildcats football preview as well as the 2009 Arizona Wildcats Football Schedule. Haven't had much luck beating your bookie? This season up your chances and order Maddux's winning college football picks.
Coach: Mike Stoops (6th year at Arizona)
Team Name: Wildcats
2008 Overall Record: 8-5
Returning Starters: 13
The 2008 Arizona Wildcats (8- 4 overall, 5- 4 Pac-10) won three more games than they did in 2007 and finished fifth in the highly competitive Pac-10. That record earned them an invitation to the Las Vegas Bowl where they beat BYU 31- 21. It was the club’s first bowl appearance and victory since 1998.
The Cats earned a national ranking of 16th on offense in 2008 by putting up an average of 36.6 PPG. This season, four-year starting QB Willie Tuitama, who tossed 23 touchdowns last season and just eight picks, will be replaced by one of two sophomores—Mike Scott or Nick Foles. Scott has fine moves and can find daylight quickly while Foles is an excellent drop back prospect. Wideout Mike Thomas, the most productive pass catcher in the history of the Pac-10, is gone. There’s fine talent on board to replace him, including junior Delashaun Dean (53 REC, 593 YDs, 4 TDs). One of the best tight ends in college football, junior Rob Gronkowski (47 REC, 672 YDs, 10 TDs), is back. He’s an invaluable asset. RB Nic Grigsby (214, 1153 YDs, 13 TDs), now a junior, is a top performer, while backup Keola Antolin has shown flashes of brilliance. Three starters return to the offensive line. Two more top prospects are needed to bolster that unit.
The defensive frontline looks solid as junior defensive ends Brooks Reed (37 TKLs, 8 SKs, 1.5 TFL) and Ricky Elmore (25 TKLs, 4 SKs, 3 TFL, 1 INT) return to anchor a veteran group. Senior linebacker Xavier Kelly (51 TKLs, 3 SKs, 3.5 TFL) will serve as the foundation of a group that needs to coalesce quickly. Corner Devin Ross (50 TKLs, 3 INTS) and safety Cam Nelson (67 TKLs, 3 TFL) are the glue of a talented secondary. In 2008, his freshman season, corner Trevin Wade grabbed four picks while seeing limited playing time. He’ll start this season.
The biggest concern on special teams is in the placekicker spot as the near-perfect Jason Bondzio has departed. He’ll be replaced by sophomore neophyte Alex Zendejas. The punting position is in good hands with junior Keenyn Crier (48 Punts, 2,109 YDs, 43.9 YPP, 16 In20). He’s got an accurate, strong leg. Antolin, who averaged 21.5 yards per kick return, will field punts and kickoffs.
Cats’ coach Mike Stoops (25- 34 in five years with Arizona) has done yeoman’s work in resurrecting and rebuilding the program. This year, he’s managed to find some fine players to fill gaps at linebacker, running back and safety. Last season, the team lost a one-point game to Stanford and a two-point game to Oregon State. This season, they could win both of those contests. Still, the team has a harder schedule than last season. They open at home versus Central Michigan on September 5 and travel to Iowa on September 19. Both games could go either way. Their final two games, Arizona State on November 28 and USC on December 5, are on the road and will prove to be tough tests for the Wildcats. This club will finish either fifth or sixth and earn a second straight bowl invite.
Arizona Wildcats Football Schedule
For more info on the 2009 Arizona Wildcats football program, view the Wildcats football site or you can read about other Pac-10 teams below.