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October 10, 2008The only hiccup for the Arizona Wildcat offense this season might be there aren't enough footballs to go around.
How many teams can say 15 different players have caught a pass through the first five games of the year? How many teams can say six different players (not including three quarterbacks) have run for positive yards this season?
The Arizona Wildcats can proudly say yes to both of these, which has made it nearly impossible to game plan against UA because there is no way to shut down so many playmakers at once.
"If [opponents] want to take something away they can take it away," head coach Mike Stoops said. "If they want to take [Rob Gronkowski] away then we have to be smart enough to go somewhere else."
The Wildcats so far have been an intelligent team as the ball has been scattered to everyone.
The in fluctuations of these mind-blowing stats aren't just a result of a one time deal. Of the 15 players who have a catch, 10 of them have multiple receptions, seven of them have scored, and four of them already have over 140 yards receiving.
The same can be said for the running game. Five Wildcats have at least 10 carries, two have rushed for over 100 yards while a third, Xavier Smith, sits at 96, and four different players have scored rushing touchdowns.
That's a lot of people producing results.
The running games is a prime example of how deep the 'Cats have become this season. Starting running back Nicolas Grigsby has been the marquee back but running backs coach Dana Dimel says Grigsby's max payload is at 17-20 touches spread out through the contest.
It's a good thing there are three capable backups who can come in at any moment. Smith has been reaping most of these benefits the past two contests as he has ran 14 times for 73 yards and two touchdowns.
Last season Smith had 26 carries for 107 yards and no scores.
"That makes people understand now this team is for real and you gotta stop everybody, you just can't stop one person," Smith said. "You gotta bring it every time you face us."
Against Washington last week, Mike Thomas, who leads the conference in receptions and yardage, only pitched in three catches for 26 yards. In other words he had four less catches and about 80 yards under his previous season average.
To Thomas it didn't show a sign of weakness, it showed the dangerous ability the offense possesses.
"We got a lot of versatility, kind of like the little, mini-Cowboys," Thomas said. "We got a lot of weapons so if you stop one you can't stop the other."
The 'other one' against the Huskies?
Tight end Rob Gronkowski; who had three touchdowns on five receptions.
So when Stanford tries to shut down Big Gronk, which receiver do you think will have the stellar performance this week? Thomas, Terrell Turner, Delashaun Dean, Terrell Reese? I could continue but I think the message has been delivered.
Opposing defenses have abilities to shut down one or two playmakers. The good teams might even be able to slow down three studs. Shutting down an entire offensive unit that not only has stars on the field but playmakers waiting in the wings, that's a lot more difficult.
The mind-numbing efficiency of the Wildcats is a welcome sight in Tucson. It was just a few years ago that a consistent 100-yard rusher and 200-yard passer donned an Arizona uniform.
So if you haven't, it might be time to write a thank you note to offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes.
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