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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

“Different bowl, different goals”

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SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Head coach Mike Stoops made one thing very clear to his Arizona Wildcats: post season travel this year was strictly business.

“”There is a different seriousness about our team,”” Stoops said. “”We don’t want to go out and embarrass ourselves like we did a year ago, and our players are in a much different place at this time than last year.””

Arizona’s showing at the 2009 Pacific Life Holiday Bowl left some to question the Wildcat’s preparation and effort. Stoops and his team arrived in San Diego, Calif., a week before the bowl game, taking the first few days to enjoy all that San Diego had to offer.

Before the 33-0 loss to Nebraska in San Diego, the Wildcats enjoyed an onboard luncheon and tour of the USS Makin Island at the San Diego Naval Station, as well as a trip to SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo.

“”Last year everything was a little longer, I think we were down in San Diego seven or eight days, so being down here things are a little more condensed and not as much downtime so we are a little more focused,”” senior defensive end Ricky Elmore said. “”It’s another different experience all together.””

The trip to San Antonio, Texas, for the Valero Alamo Bowl, however, has the team thinking a little differently.

“”This is a little different schedule than before,”” Stoops said. ””We have tried it a couple different ways and last year didn’t work very well, so again I think the time away, the rest was good for our team.””

The change in schedule was designed by Stoops to get players focused on the actual game rather than the trip. The Wildcats arrived Christmas Eve, just five days before the Valero Alamo Bowl scheduled for kickoff today at 8 p.m. local time.

“”This year we cut a couple days out and kind of slimmed the trip down,”” wide receiver William “”Bug”” Wright said. “”We know it’s a business trip. We’re out there to have a little fun while we’re there but we know it’s a business trip as well.””

Stoops said the team’s change in preparation was necessary after Arizona’s 2009 post-season performance and partially due to the way the Wildcats backed in to the bowl season after losing four straight games.

Players said that a new energy was found when Arizona had six straight practices in Tucson before getting a few days off. Quarterback Nick Foles described the Alamo Bowl as a chance for a new beginning and the team’s preparation like camp before the season starts.

Trying to put the 2009 Holiday Bowl memories on the shelf has the team running on a new high. Members of the coaching staff have noticed the change in the team’s attitude and how hard it worked combing off the end of the regular season.

Defensive end Brooks Reed said that the Alamo Bowl was also a chance to redemption for the team after last year’s bowl performance.

“”We are trying to practice a lot harder this time around,”” Reed said. ””Have the timing of our practices better and more disciplined practices.””

The Wildcats certainly had different preparation plans when it comes to Oklahoma State, but one thing still stayed the same. The team still made a trip to SeaWord in San Antonio on Dec. 26.

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