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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Kish stresses importance of rivalry game

Mike Christy
Mike Christy/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Football vs. ASU.

Many coaches in the NCAA, including former Arizona football head coach Mike Stoops, would treat rivalry games as any other contest on the schedule. As the Wildcats prepare for their annual Duel in the Desert against Arizona State on Saturday in Tempe, interim head coach Tim Kish isn’t as dismissive.

“This is a big game to play for us in my opinion,” Kish said. “It’s an atmosphere where we need to regroup here this week. We have to have a sense of purpose about us and we have to understand the meaning of the game.”

As the Wildcats are saddled with a 2-8 record, the game against ASU is the last chance the Wildcats will get this season to prove that they still have some fight left in them.

Kish knows what at stake, he said that in-state bragging rights are “something we definitely feel strongly about.”

A win against ASU would mean a 3-for-4 record for the seniors against their in-state rivals.

“I won’t be at the University of Arizona coaching for the rest of my life,” Kish said. “I don’t anticipate that at this point, but for these guys, this is where they’re graduating from.

“This is where they spent their college football career,” he added. “That should be important to them, and I’m sure it is.”

In last year’s contest, the visiting Sun Devils stunned Arizona, 30-29, in an overtime battle that was capped off by ASU quarterback Brock Osweiler sinking the Sun Devil mascot’s pitchfork into the Arizona turf.

Kish will not use last year’s game as an incentive to compete on Saturday. He said that the team should already have enough to play for.

“If I have to (use last year’s game as motivation), then we’re not going to be in a very good situation,” Kish said. “I hope I don’t.”

Personnel changes coming this weekend

After a disappointing loss to Colorado over the weekend, Kish’s said “the team that played the hardest won that game.”

Kish also questioned the effort of some Arizona players.

“I’d say it’s a common occurrence when things aren’t going your way,” Kish said. “Hopefully we have a bunch of competitors on this team, and I believe we do. I’m not sold on that it’s across the board though.”

Kish will use the week of practice to determine the players that deserve to be on the field on Saturday.

“We’re probably going to make a couple little changes. I don’t want to elaborate on that right now; we’re going to move some people around, you know, get the best 11 on the field.

“Whether we’re pulling from the secondary and downsizing somewhat to add athleticism, we’ll play that by ear at the end of the week.”

Medical Tent

Arizona defensive linemen C.J. Parish, Jowyn Ward, and Justin Washington are doubtful to play against ASU this weekend.

Parish is recovering from an ankle injury after missing the Colorado game. Washington, who missed two games in October after minor knee surgery, is out with an MCL sprain.

Ward will most likely be sidelined after suffering a high ankle sprain at the beginning of the Colorado game.

On a more positive note for the Wildcats, Saturday’s game will probably feature the return of senior cornerback Trevin Wade, who was sidelined against Colorado with a leg injury, according to Kish.

Wide receiver Dan Buckner, who’s also been questionable after suffering a separated shoulder against Washington, is listed as probable for the ASU game.

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