While you were on vacation... Arizona

The first of 12 quick updates on offseason Pac-12 goings on.

Arizona in a sentence

  • The Wildcats are hoping to ride quarterback Nick Foles and a deep crew of receivers -- topped by Juron Criner -- to redemption after losing their final five games in 2010 after a 7-1 start.

The big issue

  • While replacing three productive defensive ends -- including multi-year starters Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore -- is a big deal, even more critical is replacing all five starting offensive linemen from 2010.

Quick hit news

  • Knee injuries were epidemic for the Wildcats this offseason. Two defensive starters -- safety Adam Hall and linebacker Jake Fischer -- suffered knee injuries during spring practices, while backup running back Greg Nwoko and defensive tackle Willie Mobley also went down.

  • Criner's status seemed questionable at one point this summer amid reports he might miss the season because of personal issues. That apparently is no longer a concern, as coach Mike Stoops said at Pac-12 media day, "Juron just had some personal and family issues with his mother that he had to attend to."

  • The Wildcats are perilously thin at linebacker, and not only because of Fischer's knee injury. Two backups from 2010, R.J. Young and Trevor Erno, quit the team, and Kyle Benson was ruled academically ineligible. JC transfer David Lopez is listed No. 1 on the preseason depth chart at Fischer's strongside spot, while walk-on Bilal Muhammed is listed as the backup at the other two spots. Lopez was headed to FCS program Portland State before he signed in June. It's very likely at least one of the incoming freshmen -- Rob Hankins, Hank Hobson and Domonique Petties -- will see action (though Petties is still working through some NCAA Clearinghouse issues, which could cut into his camp preparation).

  • Both No. 1 offensive tackles, Mickey Baucus and Fabbians Ebbele are redshirt freshmen. On the plus side for the future, no member of the offensive line 2-deep is a senior.

  • The Wildcats had a number of staff changes during the offseason: On the offensive line, Robert Anae replaced Bill Bedenbaugh, who left for West Virginia, and Seth Littrell moved up from co-offensive coordinator to offensive coordinator; Co-defensive coordinator/secondary coach Greg Brown and defensive line coach Mike Tuiasosopo left for Colorado; Tim Kish moved up from co-defensive coordinator to defensive coordinator, Joe Salave'a became the defensive line coach and Ryan Walters took over the secondary, but only after Duane Akina changed his mind and returned to Texas.