The Arizona Football season is nearly here, and while we approach the 2019 season Arizona’s success could be contingent on Khalil Tate and Noel Mazzone.
We all know how 2018 ended unfortunately. Boiled down in the inefficiencies for the Wildcats was oddly their performance on offense, and ultimately the rumored “strain” between Khalil Tate and Noel Mazzone.
How? The team ranked 24th overall in total offense! Despite Tate throwing for a very respectable 2,530 yards and 26 touchdowns to just eight interceptions, it just seemed as if things were still amiss. Like the offense had more potential than what it was showing.
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Ask the average fan, and what many will say was missing from Tate and more particularly Arizona in 2018, was the dominant and diverse running game we saw from Tate as a sophomore in 2017!
Was Tate injured? Yes, he actually was, and we were consistent with our reporting in that Tate was suffering from a high ankle sprain for a majority of last season.
Was Mazzone holding him back? Well, that we don’t know, and quite honestly it’s not worth debating or arguing over, because in actuality, none of us were in the locker room, or at practice, so we truly don’t know how much truth that holds.
However, in year one, many should have anticipated for there to be growing pains, and that relationships aren’t built over night.
I know some fans want to believe that Tate is some kind of ‘cancer’ or that he was a disgruntled and bad teammate last year, but I don’t buy that, not for a second. No, what I saw last year, was a 20-year old, competitive kid who is still growing and maturing, and experienced some growing pains in a brand new system!
People expect perfection, yet fail to realize these are just talented and athletic kids playing a game intended for… kids.
Regardless, a year later and a lot of Arizona’s success will be contingent on the play of Tate. Should he return to a form remotely close to his 2017 form, and Arizona is going to be a dangerous team!
However, before that happens, it would help if Tate and Mazzone are on an even better footing in 2019! So far, it seems like that is the case as Mazzone’s cite’s Tate’s leadership and communication being improved!
At Zona Zealots, we’re excited about the return of football, and are happy to see things improving in Tucson! As always, Bear Down, Arizona!