Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Strongest position group: Arizona
By Kevin Gemmell
Every team has a strength -- that one position group that can make a play on offense or make a big stop on defense when needed.
Based on what happened this spring, we're going to look at the strongest position group for each school. It could be on either side of the ball -- and it could be subject to change after fall camp goes into full swing.
We're going in reverse alphabetical order.
Strongest position group: Offensive line
Headliner: Kyle Quinn (6-3, 300), center
Supporting cast: T Mickey Baucus (6-8, 290); T Fabbians Ebbele (6-8, 305); G Chris Putton (6-4, 282); G Trace Biskin (6-5, 282)
The skinny: The first thought was the defensive backs -- there are some good headliners in the secondary and a lot of depth. But the fact that the Wildcats potentially return their entire starting offensive line from last season outweighs the secondary's depth.
Three returning offensive linemen is good. Four is great. But to have the entire cast back is such a huge advantage in terms of timing, continuity and overall familiarity. This will help soften the blow of adjusting to a new offense because while the scheme might be different -- no one has to be broken in to a new position.
Further, offensive line coach Robert Anae was re-hired by new coach Rich Rodgriguez which gives this unit even more continuity.
Quinn is the steady Eddie of the group. The senior has started the last 14 games has made 33 appearances over the course of his career. He returns after earning all-conference honorable mention last year and anchors the line with consistency and authority.
Baucus and Ebbele are big boys on the outside (assuming Ebbele does everything asked of him to return to the team following an off-the-field incident) and Putton and Biskin have a bunch of experience.
Quinn, Baucus and Ebbele started every game last season and as a unit, they started seven games together.
Worth noting also that they have all dropped some weight from last season. Quicker is going to be better as the Wildcats look to run the ball significantly more this season.