SAN ANTONIO - Those wanting to forget Oklahoma State's last foray on the gridiron won't much like what defense coordinator Bill Young thinks of Arizona.
"They're very similar to the University of Oklahoma," he said. "There's some other teams out there that they run some plays like but if you look at them from top to bottom they're a power running football team with two running backs and a tight end. Then they'll get in some one backs set. In particularly, when they get in a four receiver set they throw the ball quite a bit and put it down the field. They do a tremendous job."
Young's thoughts on the Wildcats shouldn't be all that surprising, considering they're headed up by Mike Stoops, who presided over some of the best Sooner defenses in recent memory before taking off for his own gig in Tucson. While the Cats might not strike as much fear into opponents as the Sooners would, they put together solid numbers on offense. Overall, they ranked 23rd in overall offense (445 yards per game) and 47th in scoring offense (29.75 points per game). The team's highest statistical category comes in the passing game, as the Cats are ninth nationally at 310 ypg.
A lot of credit for the lofty passing numbers has to go to wide receiver Juron Criner, who reeled in 73 catches for 1,186 yards and 10 touchdowns. If you're looking for a play-maker on the other side of the field, the Las Vegas junior would be the guy.
"He is a really good receiver," Young said. "He is an excellent player from the standpoint that he has all the tools. He's a very tall guy (6-4), has great speed and has really good body control. He'll be a draft choice someday soon. They do a lot of double moves with their receivers similar to what the Oklahoma Sooners and some of the other teams we've played have done.
"We'll really have to be on our toes when we get in situations like those. At the same time you can't be so cautious that you're giving ground and they're running 15-20 yard outs on you all night long."
Young's unit has been prepping for the Wildcats the entire month. And since arriving in the Alamo City, he says they have done a great job focusing on Wednesday's game.
"Practice has been unbelievable," Young said. "Our players have really responded. Every day they've come to work and worked their tails off. They've prepared themselves in the meeting rooms, in the weight room and on the practice field. There will really be no excuses come game day because they've done everything that can be asked of them."