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Arizona Football: 2017 Season Preview

Posted at 5:00 PM, Aug 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-26 20:00:24-04

Arizona football was picked to finished last in the Pac-12 this season. 

Coming off of a 3-9 season last year, they aren't expected to be much better this year.  

One of the biggest questions coming into camp was who the starting quarterback would be? 

Though no formal announcement was made in this year's fall camp, we can expect to see junior Brandon Dawkins at the helm.  His biggest critique from last season was whether or not he could become a steady passer.  As Dawkins is considered a run first quarterback.  The Wildcats were last in scoring last year in the Pac-12.

He's got some help on his side this year, as the Wildcats bring back former Arizona QB, BJ Denker, who faced the same criticism that Dawkins is facing now.

The 2016 Wildcats couldn't stop the scoring much last season, either. They gave up 38.3 PPG, 118th in FBS. 

The defensive staff was revamped as well.  But that may not help much with the personnel and recruits.

One of the biggest additions to the staff is one of the most notorious football players to ever suit up for the Wildcats, in Chuck Cecil.  Who was once deemed "too fierce" for the NFL?  Cecil takes over as the new director of player personnel, and while he doesn't have any official analyst duties, his mere presence is enough to lift the defensive woes for the Wildcats.

Despite all their struggles, one bright spot for Arizona could be their running back core.  The Wildcats return Nick Wilson and JJ Taylor, but both struggled with significant injuries last season.  Taylor, returning after breaking his ankle in the 4th game of the season.  But the Wildcats also add true freshman Nathan Tilford, making the RB group the team's deepest position.

One of the biggest issues this year surrounding the team is whether or not head coach Rich Rodriguez can win enough games to hold on to his job. 

Dave Heeke comes in as new Vice President of athletics, with the departure of Greg Byrne to Alabama.  And it remains to be seen if Heeke would hold on to someone that was struggling, and not "their guy." 

If Heeke were to make a change, Rodriguez's buyout would be $5.1 million.  

The team needs to sweep their three non-conference games against NAU, Houston, and UTEP is imperative for them to have a winning season.

The Wildcats open play on September 2nd at home against NAU.


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