September 15, 2006

Preview: UA set to take out frustration on SFA

Last Saturday, Arizona lost to Louisiana State University by 42 points. The University of Arizona football program hasn't suffered a loss by that many points since the 2003 season, when it lost three games by more than 45 points. Coincidentally, one of those losses came against LSU.

Arizona will look to rebound this Saturday against a Division I-AA opponent, the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks. Being as it is a Division I-AA team, SFA may seem like an easy win for the Wildcats.

However, the Lumberjacks have nine players who are transfers from Division I-A programs. These schools include powerhouse programs such as Minnesota, Tennessee, Purdue, Notre Dame, LSU, Clemson and Nebraska.

The biggest news of the week is that Arizona's starting quarterback Willie Tuitama will most likely be sidelined for this week's game. Tuitama was taken out of last week's game after receiving a concussion on the opening play.

Taking Tuitama's place will be senior quarterback Adam Austin. After taking over for Tuitama in the third quarter against LSU, Austin completed eight of 19 passes for 67 yards and one interception.

With being given the starting job, Austin's first test will be to take on a strong Lumberjack secondary. That secondary is led by safety Keldrick Holman who was a first team All-American in 2005. Corey Campbell, who transferred from The University of Tennessee to SFA, is looking to contribute in stopping Arizona's passing attack.

Arizona's star wide receiver Mike Thomas is getting closer to 100%, and will see more action against SFA. With the recent departure of receiver B.J. Dennard, look for Arizona's freshmen receivers to receive a lot more playing time on September 16.

With his solid performance last week, Arizona running back Chris Jennings will undoubtedly receive more carries on Saturday. Against LSU, Jennings ran eight times for 53 net yards (6.6 YPC). Look for Jennings and running back Chris Henry to be a solid running tandem against a weaker, undersized SFA defensive line.

As for Arizona's front four, Louis Holmes and company should have a significantly improved outing against SFA than they did in Baton Rouge. After registering zero sacks against LSU, the Wildcat defensive line will look to take advantage of a Lumberjack offensive line that is young and inexperienced.

As inexperienced as the SFA's offensive line is, the Wildcat defense will still need to keep an eye on running backs Louie Runnels and Jerome Brooks. In their first two games, the duo has run the ball 38 times for 201 yards (5.3 ypc) and one touchdown.

Against LSU, Arizona's linebackers combined for 22 tackles, one forced fumble and one pass break-up. Spencer Larsen, Ronnie Palmer and Dane Krogstad will need to have those same numbers or better to contain SFA's rushing attack.

Even though Stephen F. Austin is a Division I-AA team, it should not be overlooked. Arizona quarterback Adam Austin will have to shine in his starting debut in order to lead the Wildcats to a victory.

Arizona's 5 Keys to
1. Adam Austin:
A team is only as good as its quarterback. Austin must stay focused and make smart plays.
2. Offensive line:
Offensive line - Create holes and give Austin enough time to find a receiver. Austin will need as much time as the offensive line can give him.
3. Linebackers:
Arizona's linebackers can not let SFA's running game make big plays. The Wildcats need to hold the Lumberjacks to less than four yards per carry.
4. Create Turnovers:
Keep Arizona's offense on the field. It will give the UA players more repetitions, as well as wear out SFA's defense.
5. Defensive Pressure: Make SFA QB Danny Southall uncomfortable in the pocket. Force him to make poor decisions and poor throws, and the Wildcat secondary should capitalize.

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