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Opposing Perspective: Arizona insider Troy Hutchison on Wildcats-Buffs

As Colorado looks to end its winless start to the season -- or at least provide some hope that it could eventually breakthrough -- we reached out to GOAZCATS.com's Troy Hutchison for perspective from the other side of the matchup Saturday with Arizona.

Here are our questions and his insights:

1. How has Jedd Fisch taken a 1-11 team and started the season 2-2 while becoming more competitive, and did you expect this type of start from Arizona?

Hutchison: "I think the biggest reason for the quick turnaround from last season is the offensive additions through the transfer portal, mainly Jayden de Laura and Jacob Cowing. Plus, the Wildcats landed the No. 21 recruiting class according to Rivals and that has brought much-needed depth to the program that it hasn't had in a long time. Last season, Arizona had some decent starters but when they got tired they were getting replaced with players that weren't ready to play or were walk-ons. With the additions the Wildcats made this offseason and being there all throughout both spring and training camp, it became clear that this is the most talent Arizona has had since the early Rich Rodriguez era. I picked UA to finish the regular season going 6-6 and making its first bowl game since the 2017 season."

2. What does Jayden de Laura bring to the table at QB?

Hutchison: "When de Laura came to Arizona, he was known as a dual-threat quarterback that had never played under center in his whole football career. So, many questioned if he would fit into the pro-style system that Fisch runs. Well, he has answered those questions and then some. De Laura was exactly what the doctor ordered to fix Arizona's quarterback issues, and he has looked the part of the All-Pac-12 performer he was at WSU. When the Wildcats landed him, they went from a below average program to one that is a bowl contender -- that's how much of an impact he has already had."

3. Arizona has given up 913 yards rushing this season. What's wrong with the rush defense?

Hutchison: "Everyone seems to want to blame the defensive line when you see posts/tweets from Wildcats fans. However, you have to look at the linebacking group that is young and very green when it comes to games started. In the Cal game both Fisch and defensive coordinator Johnny Nansen talked about gap assignments and missing tackles. Those issues stem from the linebackers, which creates holes in the run defense. Arizona needs to see improvement out of its young linebackers in run defense, or it's going to be a long Pac-12 season for the Wildcats."

4. Are there any surprising players for the Wildcats this season that have stood out during the team's first four games?

Hutchison: "We talked about the youth in the linebacking group and how it has struggled this season. Still, freshman Jacob Manu has been a nice surprise for Arizona as he has worked his way up the depth chart and become one of the first linebackers off the bench for Nansen. When Manu came to Arizona, he was looked at as a guy that was too small but played with a lot of passion and had the potential to be a contributing piece later in his career. Now, the staff has packages where he is starting when the Wildcats go to a 4-3 defensive look as the third linebacker. It's really amazing to see how quickly he is progressing.

5. What is your score prediction?

Hutchison: "I have Arizona winning this game 42-17, running away with it in the second quarter. I've tried to come up with a reason why this game could be close, but I just don't see one. Colorado is 0-4 for a reason and might be the worst Pac-12/10 team since the 2008 Washington team that went 0-12 that season."