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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Midway season quarterback competition highlights Rich Rod press conference

Rebecca Noble

Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez tries to pump up his players during the game against Washington State at Arizona Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 24.

The Arizona Wildcats are in the midst of some soul searching again. After a tough loss against the Washington State Cougars, the Wildcats will travel to Seattle, Washington, on Saturday for a matchup against the Huskies.

One of the bigger storylines from the game was when head coach Rich Rodriguez pulled Anu Solomon late in the game in favor of Jerrard Randall. At his weekly press conference, Rodriguez addressed these changes.

“More than anything for us, when I made the change it was more for trying to get a spark offensively and run some plays that fit Jerrard’s skill set,” Rodriguez said. “I think we’re a better team when we have them both in there at different times. That’s the way we practice during the week; why not try it in games?”

The defense struggled at stopping the Washington State offense, especially the passing game. Washington State quarterback Luke Falk threw for 514 yards and five touchdowns.

“Coaching wise, I have better days than others. Saturday wasn’t one of my better days as a head coach because I didn’t think we had enough tools to stop what they were doing at times,” Rodriguez said.

The loss against Washington State is the third of the Wildcats’ season, but by far the closest.

“I think, when it’s a close loss, you probably evaluate every play as a potential game-winning play,” Rodriguez said. “When you get beat by 20, you’re still mad, but you don’t review how that play could’ve won the game or that play could’ve won the game. I think when you lose closely, you probably do that more, so it’s even more frustrating.”

For now, the Wildcats will attempt to right the ship and get back on track this Saturday.

“I thought we played pretty hard, but there’s another level to playing hard that we have been at before and I didn’t think we were particularly at Saturday,” Rodriguez said. “That was kind of my directive to the team. I don’t think they quit by any means, and they still played pretty hard. But playing pretty hard and playing really, really hard is a different deal, and that’s what we’ve got to get back to.”

Center Cayman Bundage had a couple of bad snaps Saturday. Bundage, who moved from guard to center after Carter Wood was hurt, has had a couple of tough games in terms of snapping. Rodriguez and his players have consistently explained Bundage’s passion for the game and how hard it is on him when he makes mistakes.

“It’s really hard for him to mess up because he loves this. This is his favorite thing to do. I think it’s hard for him to have that bad snap,” said offensive lineman Jacob Alsadek. “He’s coming from a position where he didn’t have to snap the ball. It’s a lot harder than it looks. He does a good job, and he’s going to work on it to get it fixed.”

Safety Will Parks summed up the players feelings after losing such a tough game.

“It’s like this. Every day we wake up, and this is what we do,” Parks said. “We’ve been doing this every day since we were 6 years old. Everybody on this team loves football. Coach Rod recruits the guys that love football—not just like it—and to fail is like losing something that’s real important to you, and that’s the case for everybody on this team. And we all took it to heart.”

Arizona will take on the Washington Huskies on Saturday in Seattle at 8 p.m.

“I’m pretty sure everybody went home that night thinking, ‘We got to do whatever we got to do in order to make changes and be successful as a team,’” Parks said. “We still got four more games left so don’t count us out at all.”

Follow Kyle Hansen on Twitter.

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