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Getting to know the Arizona Wildcats

To get a little insight on the Cats, it's my pleasure to bring in Ryan Finley of the Arizona Daily Star to answer some questions on the Wildcats.

Building the Dam: The Wildcats have had to go deep into the depth chart at Quarterback this season. How is that working out?

Ryan Finley, Arizona Daily Star: Not so well. Arizona's starter, Willie Tuitama, has suffered two concussions in the first six games, and is likely finished for the season. His backup, Adam Austin, blew out his left MCL in last week's win over Stanford, and is done for the  year also. This leaves Kris Heavner, their No. 3 quarterback, as the starter for the foreseeable future. He has a weaker arm, worse speed and a limited grasp of the offense because he of a lack of practice reps. On the bright side, Heavner is as experienced as any third-string quarterback in the nation. He has 14 career starts, and was once Arizona's quarterback of the future. So he's got that going for him, which is nice.

BTD: Your defense had a dominant effort against Stanford. Are they really that hard to gain yards on, or was Stanford's offense not up to par?

Finley: Arizona's defense is a reflection of coach Mike Stoops, who is a fiery, defensive-minded coach. Arizona's best 11 players play defense, which means the defense is -- obviously -- their strength. They're good, probably third or so in the conference, and should be more of a factor now that everyone's healthy. Look for LB Spencer Larsen, DB Antoine Cason and safety Michael Johnson -- they're all studs.

BTD: What Arizona player poses the biggest threat to the Beavers?

Finley: Right now, it's probably Johnson, the Cats' senior strong safety. He picked Matt Moore three times last year in his first start as a Wildcat. He'll be looking for more this week.

BTD: On the contrary, what Oregon State player would you want to have in a Wildcat Uniform?

Finley: Yvenson Bernard. If you've seen Arizona's tailbacks, you'd know why. Bernard is the kind of every-down back that Arizona's been looking for since Trung Canidate left in 1999.

BTD: What aspect of the Beaver defense do you expect the Wildcats to pick on to give them a better chance for a W?

Finley: My guess is that Arizona will try to set up the run against OSU, in part because their passing game is in doubt with the No. 3 quarterback in. I wouldn't be surprised if the Cats tried to run between the tackles early and often.

Thanks, Ryan!

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Go Beavers!