This week, CU Independent Head Sports Editor Justin Guerriero chatted with Ivan Leonard of Arizona’s Daily Wildcat to get some insider knowledge on the team.
Justin Guerriero: What’s the feeling in Arizona’s locker room after a really ugly 69-7 loss to Wazzu?
Ivan Leonard: When will this season be over? After losing to BYU in a heartbreaker to open the season, Arizona’s season has had more downs than ups. After almost upsetting Washington, Arizona lost every conference by at least 13 points with the 62-point loss to Wazzu capping it off. Colorado was in the same boat that Arizona was in two years ago and the two schools are in opposite directions.
JG: This year, the Buffaloes have been taking down Pac-12 teams that, in the past, were major conference bullies to them. How do you think this Wildcats team stacks up against CU?
IL: I believe Arizona is extremely overmatched due to Colorado’s competence at football. The Wildcats’ best football play is when quarterback Brandon Dawkins scrambles on a pass play for positive yardage. The downside of that is that he takes various hits throughout the game and they take a toll on him over its duration.
Arizona should be 1-6 but an injury to Grambling quarterback Devante Kincaid saved them in that game. If Colorado’s offense can sustain drives and avoid turnovers and penalties, this game should be over by halftime.
JG: What is AU’s biggest weakness(es)?
IL: I think a more accurate question would be what are Arizona’s strengths. Their weaknesses are glaring on both sides of the ball and are the reason this team probably will not win a game in conference this year. However, I would say Arizona’s pass defense is the most concerning. Their pass rush almost never gets home and they rarely force interception. Arizona has forced 10 turnovers this year, and six came against FCS opponent Grambling State in a 31-21 win.
On the offensive end, injuries are what is killing that side of the ball. Arizona’s starting running back is a converted wide receiver after the first two got shelved for ankle injuries. Quarterbacks Brandon Dawkins and Anu Solomon have both missed time due to injury and have not been productive when healthy.
JG: What about the Buffaloes is most concerning to you?
IL: Quarterback play concerns me the most about Colorado; Sefo Liufau is a very solid quarterback and will have time to find his receivers. Against this secondary, he should be able to get whatever he wants with relative ease. Another player that concerns me is Jimmie Gilbert, due to Arizona’s lack of pass protection. He should definitely impact the game and pressure whoever Arizona has in at quarterback.
JG: Who are Arizona’s key play makers? Can you give me at least one from both sides of the ball?
IL: That one guy on the left side, I think his name’s Joe, and on the right side we also have Joe. They’re both vegan.
JG: A loss for Colorado likely puts the team in a must-win-out scenario to reach the Pac-12 Championship game. Can Arizona deliver such a loss?
IL: Technically yes, but likely that will not happen. Colorado would need to commit a boatload of turnovers on their side of the field for that to happen.
JG: Score predictions? How does this one play out?
IL: Strangely enough, Arizona scores first against a lot of its opponents. It’s just that the other team responds and then keeps scoring, and then it gets out of hand. I believe Colorado will enter the second quarter with at least a 10-point lead and ride that to a 41-14 victory.
Contact CU Independent Head Sports Editor Justin Guerriero at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @TheHungry_Hippo.
Contact Daily Wildcat Football Beat Writer Ivan Leonard at firstname.lastname@example.org.