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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Getting over a tough loss

    UA senior safety Nate Ness reacts to a last-second field goal by Oregon State during a 19-17 Wildcat loss Saturday night at Arizona Stadium. The Wildcats five losses this season have come by a combined 27 points.
    UA senior safety Nate Ness reacts to a last-second field goal by Oregon State during a 19-17 Wildcat loss Saturday night at Arizona Stadium. The Wildcats’ five losses this season have come by a combined 27 points.

    Any loss stings, but the 19-17 defeat the Beavers handed the Wildcats on Saturday night was very tough to deal with for some players following the hotly contested game against Pacific 10 Conference leading Oregon State.

    “”That game is probably the game I’ve hurt the most from this year,”” UA senior quarterback Willie Tuitama said after the game. “”What can you do? You’ve just got to bounce back and get ready for ASU.””

    Luckily for Arizona, the team has two weeks to learn from the mistakes made in that game and focus on finishing its season on a positive note – with a win over the Sun Devils – and it all started with a workman-like practice Monday evening.

    Head coach Mike Stoops ran the team through a series of light workouts and then gave most of the veteran players some rest so the more inexperienced players could get in some repetitions. The team responded well as the players returned to the field with a day to digest the loss and put together a spirited training session.

    “”I think it was good to get out and just run around a little bit. I thought our kids did a good job,”” Stoops said. “”We just did some fundamental (drills) and then scrimmaged some with our 2’s and 3’s, which we haven’t been able to do.

    “”We just kind of took advantage of the day and tried to work with some of our younger players, rest our older players but get them moving, trying to get something productive done,”” Stoops added. “”Today was good and we’ll come back with two hard practices Tuesday and Wednesday and then come back Saturday. We’re trying to get a positive jump on this preparation (for ASU).””

    One thing Arizona will try to improve during its preparations is its inability to close out tight games. In every Arizona loss this season, the Wildcats have been one play away from either tying or winning the game late in the fourth quarter. The most difficult thing about that is it’s impossible to coach someone to have a killer instinct.

    “”That’s just a thing that’s in you. It’s like you’re born with it; you just have a knack for it,”” said senior wideout Mike Thomas. “”I think that’s just kind of one of those things that you feed off each other. When your team is playing good it’s easy to do that, but it’s those times when things are not going so good that you’ve got to have that beast and killer mode to come out and keep producing.””

    No matter how the team prepares, individually or as a whole, Stoops doesn’t think his troops will have trouble getting ready for the Dec. 6 showdown with the Sun Devils. The Wildcats are coming off two conference losses, and paired with the significance of the rivalry game and bowl implications on the Duel in the Desert, every player on Arizona should be pumped up for the final game of the regular season.

    “”I think our kids know the significance of this game, even though it’s almost two weeks away. … They understand this will be a big game and concluding our season,”” Stoops said. “”We’ve lost to Arizona State in some tough games over the years, and we’ve got to do the things necessary to win and that’s what’s going to win you the games.

    “”You have to play 60 minutes of football, and that’s really been kind of our nemesis as we move through the season,”” the head coach added. “”We just haven’t been great late in games, and we’ve got to make a couple more plays to be successful. I think our players are going to be very determined to do that.””

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