As we gear up for USC’s Thursday night game against Arizona, Justin Sayers over at Zona Zealots answered some questions about the Wildcats.
Q: It was recently reported that Jake Fischer is questionable for Thursday. How big of a deal will it be if he can’t go?
A: Jake Fischer’s absence would leave the Wildcats without one of the better defensive players and their vocal leader.However, the Wildcats do have a lot of depth at the linebacker position and will be able to replace Fischer’s production with junior Hank Hobson, who has starting experience. The defense also starts 10 upperclassmen, so lacking that leadership isn’t a huge loss. While it wouldn’t be ideal, Fischer not playing wouldn’t be the worst thing that could happen to the Wildcats.
Q: How much have injuries in the receiving corp contributed to the Wildcats subpar passing game?
A: Injuries have contributed to the Wildcats’ subpar passing attack, but it is just one of many factors that have resulted in an ability to get the offense going through the air. In my opinion, a struggling offensive line and the wide receivers’ inability to get open are more to blame. Obviously, it doesn’t help when your quarterback can’t deliver accurate passes to his receivers, but that’s a different story. In my opinion, the entire offensive unit needs to step up in order to take some of the pressure off B.J. Denker.
Q: What’s the biggest area of concern for Arizona facing USC?
A: The biggest area of concern for Arizona is having to rely on their run game against a strong rushing defense. The Wildcats rank 10th in the country with 291.5 rushing yards per game and face a Trojans defense that yields only 99.6 rushing yards per game, which is good for 13th in the country. Something has got to give and if it doesn’t fall in Arizona’s favor, they’re going to be in major trouble.
Q: Ka’Deem Carey vs Trojan rush defense, who controls the match up?
A: After watching what Ka’deem Carey did to the Washington defense, it’s hard for me to bet against the junior running back, regardless of who he’s playing. He is virtually unstoppable and his numbers show that, as he’s rushed for 1,345 yards and 15 touchdowns in his last seven games. I think Carey controls this matchup, but he’ll need help from his supporting cast if the Wildcats offense as a whole wants to be successful.
Q: Who do you think wins and why?
A: As long as there is uncertainty at the quarterback position for Arizona, it’s tough for me to pick the Wildcats. Arizona just won’t be able to get through their Pac-12 schedule without a passing attack. Also, Wildcats fans can attest to the rejuvenation that comes as a result of playing under a new coach (See: Arizona vs. UCLA in 2011). I think that the injuries to the Trojans receivers and defense make the game close, but USC’s superior talent is too much for the Wildcats to overcome.
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