Rich Rodriguez and the new Arizona Wildcats coaching staff have been trying any and all options this summer to fill holes on both sides of the football. With very little experience returning up front in the new 3-3-5 defensive scheme, Rodriguez, defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel and all of the defensive staff were trying out players on a daily basis in practice at various positions.
After nearly a month of camp, UA has released their final depth chart as they begin preparations for the regular season.
Matt Scott will be starting at quarterback to the surprise of no one. He all but had this job locked up the day after last season ended. Ka'Deem Carey, one of the highest-ranked recruits to ever become a Wildcat, is listed as the No. 1 running back. Taimi Tutogi is the starter at fullback.
Dan Buckner and Terrence Miller, two seniors, will be the starting wide receivers on the outside. Richard Morrison and Austin Hill are the slot receivers.
The offensive line, which returns every starter from 2011, will consist of (from left tackle to right) Mickey Baucus, Chris Putton, Kyle Quinn, Trace Biskin and Fabbians Ebbele. Outside of Ebbele, who was in hot water for activity off the football field this summer, there really are not any surprises here.
The starters up front will be Dominique Austin at defensive end, nose tackle Sione Tuihalamaka up the middle and Chris Merrill on the other end. The linebacking core consists of sophomore Hank Hobson and juniors Jake Fischer and Marquis Flowers. Flowers played safety the last two seasons, but the coaching staff feels that he is big enough (6'3, 221 pounds) and fast enough to bring an interesting dynamic to the defense at linebacker.
The starters at cornerback are Shaquille Richardson and Derrick Rainey. Tra'Mayne Bondurant will start at the 'spur' position, while local product Jared Tevis fills in at the 'bandit'. These two players typically play all over the field in coach Casteel's scheme and will both help on the pass rush and in coverage. Jourdon Grandon will start at safety.
John Banano returns as the place kicker and kickoff man. Kyle Dugandzic will handle the punting duties. On kickoff returns, Carey and Kylan Butler will be the two primary options. Morrison is the punt returner.