After an easy opening weekend to kickoff the 2011 season, the Arizona Wildcats are about to face the first of four huge tests on their schedule. The first challenge: the Oklahoma State Cowboys and their high-flying offense.
This matchup, which is a rematch of a blowout Alamo Bowl that saw the Cowboys win convincingly by a score of 36-10, will be nationally televised on ESPN for the whole country to see. While I'm not so sure that is a good thing for the Wildcats, the team will nonetheless give Oklahoma State a battle on Thursday night.
Coach Stoops addressed the media today. Here are a few of the highlights from Anthony Gimino:
On the Cowboys:
"This is a legitimate team in all areas. They're a very good football team from top to bottom. No apparent weakness on this team. They're very athletic up front, great speed out on the perimeter, great quarterback, great running back. They're very complete in all areas. Defensively, they're very sound in what they do. They put a lot of pressure on you across the board."
On OSU quarterback Brandon Weeden:
"This quarterback is big-time player and a big-time thrower. So, your precision (in the secondary) needs to be better than it was a week ago. Their skill guys can really run. It's going to be important that our guys compete out there on the perimeter. We're going to have to have some solo coverage out there, and you just have to make plays."
The Oklahoma State team the 'Cats will see this week is basically the same team that dismantled them last season, with the addition and subtraction of a few non-essential players.
On playing at Boone Pickens Stadium:
"Their fans are unmerciful and they're close to you. That's the one thing I do know."
Fortunately, Nick Foles has played in his fair share of big games on the national stage, but his offensive line and half of the defense are far less experienced than the veteran quarterback. How much of an impact will the sellout crowd have on UA?
In addition to these quotes, the head coach also released a few announcements regarding injuries and the depth chart.
- Place-kicker Jaime Salazar, who missed a field goal and extra point in the season opener, will remain as the No.1 option in favor of Alex Zendejas.
- Second-string running back Daniel Jenkins is questionable for Thursday's game. Stoops also had a lot of praise for freshman running back Ka'Deem Carey.
- Junior Shane Zink is listed as the starter at right guard after filling in last week for Trace Biskin, who was out because of a knee injury. Biskin's status for this week is up in the air.