In prepping for the first bowl game of the season (fa-la-la-la-la la-la-la-la), Jeremy got a hold Kyle Kensing, of Saturday Blitz, but more importantly, of Arizona Desert Swarm. He is one of the few Arizona fans still interested in football despite Tucson being abuzz about NO. 8 WILDCAT HOOPS! One of the key thing he notices about this matchup is what we've been noticing: that these two teams are very similar. That being said, let's get to the interview:
JM: How are fans treating Nevada, are they taking them seriously, or is it considered a win since it is a MWC school?
KK: Nevada's long sustained success under Chris Ault, the uptempo offense, Stefphon Jefferson...there's no reason anyone should take Nevada lightly. This is a good team with a great coach and a track record. As for Arizona, while the Wildcats won 7 games and were within a score in three of their losses, UA has only one blowout win (over Washington). Close games have pretty much been the team's MO.
JM: What can Arizona's defense do to slow down Nevada's up pace pistol offense, and more specifically running back Stefphon Jefferson?
KK. Arizona's starting 11 on defense plays beyond its talent level. However, the defense is paper thin. UA has a tendency to wear down over the course of games, which doesn't bode well against a rushing attack like Nevada's. Now, Jeff Casteel's defense brings a lot of unique blitz packages. Expect to see Tra'Mayne Bondurant and/or Marquis Flowers coming off the edges early on.
JM: Give Nevada fans a look inside how good running back Ka'Deem Carey is?
KK. Ka'Deem Carey is an outstanding back. He scored a touchdown in every game, save the loss at Oregon. He's a real throwback-style rusher, adept at finding the holes his offensive line creates and keeps his legs churning on first contact. His speed isn't blinding like some other backs, but his ability to grind for extra yards turns 3, 4 yard carries into gains of 7, 8, 10 yards.
JM. How much of Rich Rodriguez's spread option has really been implemented. He had Denard Robinson at Michigan and Pat White
KK. Matt Scott really isn't comparable to Denard or Pat White. Scott can rush, but it's more of an added element to his skill set than *the* element. One of the things that's impressed me about Rich Rodriguez's first season is that the system's been adapted to the players; not the other way around. Scott is a terrific passer, and Austin Hill is one of the best wide receivers in the Pac-12. Balance was missing from Arizona's offense the last two seasons. Ironic that a staff known for an offense almost exclusively vested in the rush is what brought balance back to Tucson.
JM. What is Arizona most fearful about this Nevada team?
KK. Arizona was competitive in every game but two -- and the two that they weren't were against UCLA and Oregon, teams that run free-wheeling offenses with dual threat quarterbacks. Sound familiar? Putting too much attention on Jefferson allows Cody Fajardo to run -- or throw. Arizona's pass defense has struggled mightily, and the further a successful passing attack spreads out the secondary, the more dangerous those rushers become.
JM. Who wins and why?
6. This is the No. 94 scoring defense against the No. 101 scoring defense. Points will be scored. Oh, yes. They will be scored.* I suspect this is one of those last-team-with-possession-wins kind of game. I'll cop out and not take a winner, but will put out a final score: 41-38.
*Editor's note. Kyle Kensing has just moved up on my list of awesome people for the Wayne's World reference.
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