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13 Questions: Woeful Wildcat Edition

Another ATQ & A with Arizona Desert Swarm

NCAA Football: Arizona at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

We were lucky enough to chat with Ryan Kelapire of Arizona Desert Swarm ahead of the big game! Will the Wildcats pull off the upset? Probably not, but who knows.

No. 1: You’ve lost 15 games in a row… that must suck. How is the fanbase holding up?

Not well. This losing streak includes a 70-7 loss to Arizona State and now Arizona’s first loss to NAU since 1932. While most fans understand there will be some bumps and bruises in a rebuild, losing to your rival by that much and losing to an FCS team should never happen. Fans are angry right now and understandably so.

No. 2: Clearly Jedd Fisch has a lot of work to do. Do you believe, given enough time, he’ll be able to get this team at least back to bowl game eligibility?

Given the way he and his staff are recruiting, yes. But my answer would be a lot more confident if the Wildcats didn’t just lose to NAU. The staff still has to show it can develop quality game plans and, you know, actually win a game.

No. 3: McCloud, Cruz, Plummer; do you think any of these quarterbacks will be able to take the reins of this team for good?

No. They are mere holdovers until 4-star recruit Noah Fifita joins the program next season.

Northern Arizona v Arizona Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

No. 4: What have been some of the major problems with the Arizona Wildcat offense?

The quarterback play has been shaky and the offensive line has struggled to pave the way for the running backs. Arizona hasn’t cracked 20 points in a game yet, and it’s hard to see the offense improving much throughout the season. The talent just isn’t there.

No. 5: On the flip side, do you have anything nice to say about the defense?

Yes, it has looked much better this season. Led by new DC Don Brown, AKA Dr. Blitz, the Wildcats look much more cohesive on that side of the ball. They run to the ball and, for the most part, tackle pretty well. The unit still lacks talent, which means the pass rush, run defense and coverage can get overmatched at times, but Arizona would be 2-1 right now if its offense wasn’t so horrific.

No. 6: Who are some of your favorite players on the team?

Wide receiver Stanley Berryhill III is a treat to watch. He already has 28 receptions this season and has been extremely effective after the catch. Christian Roland-Wallace is a long press corner who is probably Arizona’s best pro prospect.

Northern Arizona v Arizona Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

No. 7: What is the strongest unit on this squad? And which is the weakest?

I’m not sure Arizona has a “strong unit” but they do have an interesting receiving corps. In addition to Berryhill, it features track star Tayvian Cunningham, who is always a big play waiting to happen, whether that’s in the passing game or return game. And Arizona may get Jamarye Joiner back from injury against Oregon. He’s a converted quarterback with great physical tools.

As for the weakest unit, it’s probably the offensive line. It couldn’t even control the line of scrimmage against NAU.

No. 8: Last I checked the Ducks are 28.5-point favorites, if the Wildcats were to pull off the upset what would that game look like?

I don’t know. I don’t remember what a win looks like. (On a more serious note, Arizona will have to overwhelmingly win the turnover battle and score touchdowns every time it makes a trip to the red zone, though there probably won’t be many.)

No. 9: If the Ducks win this Saturday, who do you think will be the first team to lose to Arizona in the Fisch era. Will it happen this season or next?

I think Arizona can beat Colorado. The Wildcats have had success in Boulder before and the Buffs’ offense is historically bad right now. Even then, I would be surprised if Arizona is favored in any more games this season. NAU was their best chance to end the skid and they blew it.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 11 San Diego State at Arizona Photo by Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

No. 10: How has Arizona fared in the turnover battle this season?

They are -2 on the season, with all three of their takeaways coming against NAU. That was obviously a good development, but it remains to be seen if UA can generate takeaways against better teams. As mentioned earlier, it’s probably their only shot of winning this game.

No. 11: Do you think the Wildcats have a chance against Arizona State this season?

Yes. The Territorial Cup is always unpredictable and the Sun Devils tend to be underachievers. I’d feel better if the game was in Tucson, but even still I think Arizona can beat ASU if things fall a certain way.

No. 12: Are you excited for basketball season?

Absolutely. It’s Tommy Lloyd’s first season and fans are excited to see what changes he brings to the program. The talent level isn’t as high as it used to be, but there’s still enough talent to be an NCAA Tournament team (assuming the NCAA doesn’t hand Arizona a postseason ban before then).

No. 13: Score prediction?

38-17. Arizona’s defense might be able to keep this game close for a quarter or two, but that’s about it.

NCAA Football: Brigham Young at Arizona Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports