Kevin Zimmerman over at Arizona Desert Swarm shot us an email earlier this week with a great idea, a little
TNA qna session between us and them. So, I can't think of a witty lead in, so here are his answers to my questions (you can find my answers to his questions over at AZDS).
1: I see you run a 3-3-5 defense, and one of the main weakness's of that defense is run stopping. How do you think they will try to slow down our run game?
I think this is the biggest question mark of not only this game but for Arizona as the season progresses. Naturally, the 3-3-5 caters to a smaller, faster defense, but Arizona is still at a disadvantage with its size. Marquis Flowers, one of the defensive leaders, moved to outside linebacker from safety, and he's only about 220 pounds. The size isn't there, so I think we're going to get a good look at how the 3-3-5 ideally works after defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel was very vanilla with it against Toledo.
Expect to see a lot of movement between the linebackers and hybrid players at the rover positions. I expect Casteel to mix it up early and often in having the hybrids sometimes drop into coverage and sometimes get up in the box to stop the run. The hope would be to keep the OSU offensive line guessing as to who they're going to be blocking on run plays.
2: I'm guessing Mike Stoops to RichRod is a night and day sorta thing. How are the players and fans responding to the new coach?
So far, so good. The players talk a lot about RichRod bringing that hard working mentality back after Stoops appeared to have lost the locker room. One thing we expect from the start and saw against Toledo is that the team is going to have Rodriguez's fight in it. They're not the most talented squad, but there is already an obvious difference in the effort.
From a fan standpoint, Rodriguez is heads about Stoops in being a face of the program. He's very personable -- something Stoops was not -- and the community appears to be behind him. The pressure that led to Stoops' removable was partially do to his struggles in becoming part of the community, and booster's didn't like it.
3: You're replacing your quarterback, leading rusher, and several receivers. After one game, how are you feeling about the newb's?
Feeling much better after the first game. Quarterback Matt Scott is in his fifth year and actually won the starting job over NIck Foles back in 2009, so he's not a slouch. He's perfect for Rodriguez's system as a dual-threat, and unlike a guy like Denard Robinson, is a pretty competent (if not excellent) quarterback. The running back situation is actually better with sophomore Ka'Deem Carey being a great all-around back opposed to a small, between the tackles type that Arizona has had in the past. And at receiver, there's talent that just hasn't been consistent. Austin Hill, Terrence Miller and Dan Buckner are all big (6'3 or taller) physical receivers, and all three looked solid in the opener. Out of those three, it's Hill who reminds us a lot of Juron Criner, who missed last year's game against OSU but is now with the Raiders.
4: Every time I search Arizona Wildcats on google image, tons of hot chick pop up. Why is Tucson a destination for hotties, and why should I move there?
This is pretty easy to answer. The Arizona schools are greatly aided by the California kids who are not academically-invested enough to get into the SoCal schools like UCLA and USC. This makes for a culture of people who just want to party, which is something we do with great passion. And therein lies a good reason to move to Tucson. There's an eclectic mix of California, class, hipsterness and uber conservatives (it's Arizona, after all). Oh, and it's usually t-shirt and shorts weather, which of course means that everyone is half-naked for the majority of the year. That's something anyone can get behind.
5: What are your expectations for this year, and moving forward? Do you think Rodriguez is the right coach for your team, and do you think he will have West Virgina success, or bomb like at Michigan?
It'll be interesting. The Pac-12 has definitely become a conference where offensive innovation is needed to succeed, and RichRod fits perfectly into that. The university is easy to recruit to -- just see the basketball program -- if he has success in place. And I think he'll fall somewhere in between; it'll be awfully hard to get to big-name bowl games with USC and Oregon in the conference, after all. From everything we've heard and read, he was doomed to fail at Michigan from the start. In Tucson, expectations obviously aren't that high and he'll have time to get his system into place.
Hopefully everyone is getting as pumped for this game as I am, (though I got pumped we hung 84 of SSU, so perhaps I'm not the best model), only 2 days til game time. Take some time to peruse AZDS if you have a chance, good stuff about our opponent over there, and as always,