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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Bye week helpful for ‘Cats

Alan Walsh / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Alan Walsh
Alan Walsh / Arizona Daily Wildcat

While it wasn’t as rewarding as playing a game and getting a win, Arizona’s weekend spent on the couch was relatively productive.

And it all starts with getting healthy.

“”We’re still nicked up a little bit but outside of Robbie (Gronkowski) and Bug (Wright), I anticipate that everyone will be available,”” head coach Mike Stoops said during his weekly press conference on Monday.

The Wildcats left their game against Oregon State two weeks ago with a victory but also carrying a laundry list of injuries. Defensive end Brooks Reed, running backs Nic Grigsby and Keola Antolin, wide receiver Delashaun Dean, and offensive linemen Mike Diaz and Vaughn Dotsy all saw limited action but are expected to practice this week and be ready to play when Arizona takes on Washington this Saturday.

Gronkowski is actively rehabilitating his back after surgery but is still several months away from starting any kind of football-related activity.

Wright, the starting slot receiver at the beginning of the season, has missed time this year with a nagging knee injury and recently underwent arthroscopic surgery. Stoops said Wright will start running in a few days and might be available next week.

“”We should be in better shape physically and hopefully mentally,”” Stoops added. “”We’re anxious to get back and get started.””

Foles remained composed while on bench

Perhaps part of the reason sophomore quarterback Nick Foles was so successful in his first college start against Oregon State was because of how he handled losing the preseason quarterback competition to fellow sophomore Matt Scott.

It turns out that Scott was the favorite all along but was pushed to the brink by Foles.

Despite being benched to start the season, Foles continued to work in practice until he became the starter, throwing three touchdowns to lead Arizona over Oregon State.

“”He’s always been a confident player and he’s probably relieved that he went out and played well, but I don’t think he feels any different about his abilities,”” Stoops said.

More than his arm, it was his even-keel demeanor that kept him in check while on the bench and he has continued to do so now as the team’s starter. Those traits have calmed Foles enough to face loud stadiums and pressures from opposing defenses, all while maintaining control on the football field.

“”That goes back to his own character,”” Stoops said. “”He’s a guy that doesn’t get too high and doesn’t get too low. You want your quarterback to be a great leader, but you can’t live and die by each particular play.””

“”(Quarterbacks) have to have some medium ground and have to understand that they need to stay calm and poised,”” Stoops added. “”You have to stay in the moment and not get affected by a great throw or an interception. I just think you have to stay that way to be able to operate and think clearly to do the things you have to do in this era of football.””

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