Arizona Wildcats 2013

Welcome Back, Wildcats!

Students on the University of Arizona campus are just beginning to get back into the swing of things in Tucson.  Luckily for us, we have the excitement of a football game on the first Friday of school to get us going again! Arizona Stadium has undergone a serious facelift that will hopefully give the team the boost they need to get them going.

To start off let’s recap last year’s season.  Finishing 8-5 overall, just 4-5 in the PAC 12 conference, the Wildcats faced some struggles throughout the season.  The Cats started off strong, beating 3 non-conference teams: Toledo (24-17), Oklahoma St. (59-38), and South Carolina State (56-0).  This winning streak, however, was immediately forgotten after the Oregon Ducks defeated the Wildcats 49-0. After a back and forth season and losing to the Sun Devils at home 31-27, the Cats found themselves in the whirlwind of a game called the New Mexico Bowl and ended the season with a 49-48 win and a performance that has been watched, re-watched, and reminisced by fans many times since.

As the Arizona Wildcat Football team opens the season at home, many fans will get their first looks at the new and improved Arizona stadium, with an upgraded capacity of 57,800 seats.  The new north end zone project has been completed and includes features such as upgraded club seating, new locker rooms, weight rooms, and entrance tunnel.  The upper levels also include a new restaurant that is open to the public called Bear Down Kitchen.  The playing field itself has been dramatically improved to a CoolPlay turf field to keep the players cooler during game time.  The field is designed in the signature Wildcat red and blue with “ghost letters” spelling out “Bear Down” on either side of the block A.  Some fans will also notice that the “#BearDown” hashtag has been removed from the field as per NCAA rulings on field logos.  The field and stadium improvements come with a new ticket booth and a couple new entrance gates to seal the deal.

Before Picture:

After Picture:

Rich Rodriguez is in only his second year as the head coach of Arizona.  Notable achievements include bringing the Cats to a victorious post-season bowl game and changing the team dynamic after a pitiful last season under former head coach Mike Stoops (4-8, 2-7 PAC 12).  In 2012 we wrote about the curiosity of Rodriguez as the Arizona hire:
This is a somewhat interesting hire considering that Arizona finished with the 110th ranked defense in the nation and Rich Rod is infamous for his complete and utter destruction of Michigan’s defense during his three seasons there.  At this point Arizona’s defense can’t get much worse. “

However, we were wrong.  The Arizona defense is now ranked 118th in the nation.

Quarterback: Arizona still has no starting quarterback lined up.  With the departure of Matt Scott, who was signed as an undrafted free agent to the Jacksonville Jaguars,  introduction of a new starter is proving difficult.  Returning Quarterback BJ Denker is the apparent front runner but has not been confirmed.

Running back: Star running back Ka’Deem Carey is returning to the team this year but not without some turbulence.  Carey, who was last year’s #1 rushing player and #6 scorer in the nation, faced two run-ins with the law during the off season.  A misdemeanor assault charge (eventually dropped) against his pregnant girlfriend in addition to being removed from an Arizona basketball game after causing trouble then using the line “Do you know who I am? I’m an all-American.” Carey will miss sthe NAU season opener as consequence for these events.

Wide Receivers:

Receiver Austin Hill is projected to miss most if not all games this season due to a torn ACL that happened during spring ball.  In addition, Tyler Slavin has left the wildcats for reasons still unknown, announcing his departure via Twitter.  Transfer Davonte’ Neal is still awaiting clearance to play this season after appealing NCAA rules requiring Neal to sit out a year after transferring.

Luckily for the cats, they’re facing an easy non-conference line up.  However, the remainder of their schedule is no easy task.  Arizona has a track record of doing poorly during conference play and with the lack of depth their facing, it will be a full team effort.

From the heart of Wildcat Country, Bear Down.