Players to Watch – University of Arizona Wildcats


November 10, 2012; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats linebacker Jake Fischer (33) in the first half against the Colorado Buffaloes at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The Wildcats exploded on the scene last year under new head coach Rich Rodriquez running the read option attack with senior quarterback Matt Scott and crew. It will be a transition in 2013 with a new quarterback but with Ka’Deem Carey in the backfield and a returning 20 players on defense that started a game, the Wildcats are poised to make more noise in the Pac 12 South.

#25 – Ka’Deem Carey – RB
5’10” – 196 lbs. – JR

The Wildcats offense starts and ends with Carey at the running back position. After being the second running back in his freshman season, Carey exploded on to the scene in 2012 by rushing for 1,929 yards to set the single season rushing record for the Wildcats and post the fifth best in Pac 12 history. He earned All-American Honors as well as All-Pac 12 First Team honors at the conclusion of the season.

Strengths – Carey possesses intangibles at the running back position that are outstanding with superior vision from the backfield and feel for where defenders are coming from once the ball is in his hands. He has a great burst once the hole has developed getting to the second level quickly and never stops his feet from churning on contact. He is a plus receiver out of the backfield showing soft hands.

Weaknesses – Carey’s biggest knock is running with a high shoulder pad level which will lead to possible injuries at the next level with the increase in punishment. He needs to lower develop a more solid base when used in pass blocking. He will lunge with his upper body becoming off balance when attacking the defender.

Overall – Carey will enter the 2013 season as one of the top running backs in the country and should be. He has a compact build with great explosion, vision, and balance from the running back position. Inside the Wildcats offense, he will be the focal point of their attack and will see the same work load as he did last season (340 touches). Carey will add to his All-American status with another healthy season for the Wildcats and post video game like numbers in the Rich Rod offense.

#33 – Jake Fischer – MLB
6’0” – 222 lbs. – SR

Fischer has played in every game since stepping foot on campus outside of missing the 2011 season with a knee injury. He has earned All-Pac 12 First Team Academic honors in 2010 and 2012 as well as All-Pac 12 honorable mention following the 2012 season where he accumulated 119 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, and three broken up passes for the Wildcats.

Strengths – Fischer plays with power from the linebacker position with the strength and mental side of taking on blockers head on to clog up the hole in the 3-3-5 defense of the Wildcats. He shows the ability to read and diagnose the play post snap quickly with reactions to fill the play side hole well from his middle linebacker position. Fischer is a solid tackler that sinks his hips and explodes through the ball carrier on contact. He has active feet and hands when in contact with the offensive player where he shows the ability to shed and scrape when the play is going to the edge.

Weakness – Fischer has heavy feet when in pass coverage with tight hips from the middle linebacker position. He needs to improve on attacking the play side shoulder of the offensive lineman leaving play side hand free to make the tackle more than taking them on head on.

Overall – Fischer is a key player in the Wildcats 3-3-5 defense with his high football I.Q. and toughness that he brings to the field each play. At the next level, Fischer will be moved to an outside linebacker position due to lateral foot speed but will thrive there being a solid tackler and ability to cover space in the smaller area. Fischer is a hard worker on and off the field where he is also a member of the 2012 AFCA Good Works Team in community support.