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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Now is time for Arizona to rebound

Will Ferguson
Will Ferguson / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Oregon Ducks beat the Arizona Wildcats 56-31 during a Saturday, Sept. 24 match at the UA football stadium in Tucson, Arizona.

September 2011 will not go down in history as a month for the Arizona football team to remember fondly. The Wildcats fell victim to the toughest opening schedule of any team in the Pac-12 Conference, and perhaps the country.

Three top-10 opponents led to three straight losses for Arizona, punctuated by Saturday’s 56-31 victory for the Oregon Ducks against the Wildcats at Arizona Stadium.

“You’ve got to play good to win any game,” head coach Mike Stoops said after the Oregon loss on Saturday. “It doesn’t matter if it’s NAU or it’s Washington, we can’t win any games until we get better as a team.”

No. 5 Oklahoma State, No. 6 Stanford, and No. 9 Oregon outscored the Wildcats 130-55 and managed to gain 1,677 yards of total offense over those three contests.

The first few weeks of the season are typically preseason games of sorts, where the goal is to introduce new players to the college level and test out new schemes.

Arizona only had a Sept. 3 opener against NAU to do that.
To put it into perspective, the Wildcats fell 37-10 in Week 3 of the season to No. 6 Stanford while the California Golden Bears were busy destroying FCS opponent Presbyterian Blue Hose by a score of 63-12 at home.

Stoops has mentioned time and time again that earning wins doesn’t depend upon whom his team plays, but how well the Wildcats play.

But it’s not going to do any good for the Wildcats to dwell on their first month of play — it’s time to move on.

For cornerback Trevin Wade, it’s a matter of the Wildcats being able to rebound quickly.

“When you get over that hump, you get on a roll,” he said. “That’s what we’ve got to do.”

Looking ahead doesn’t seem so daunting as the Wildcats will try and regain some confidence against the USC Trojans next weekend. A win at USC would get the Wildcats over that hump and start to get the wheels moving in the right direction.

Wade’s strategy for moving on is simple.

“We’ve just got to come out, hit somebody in the mouth and play Arizona football,” he said.

“I feel like everybody’s being timid,” Wade added. “We wasn’t tackling (against Oregon). I saw our receivers weren’t catching balls. Those are the little things. Those are little. There’s nothing to fix about that. Receivers catch, we tackle. That’s all you got to do.”

After USC, Arizona faces Oregon State, UCLA and Washington in three match-ups that critics will give the Wildcats a fighting chance.

One thing’s for certain — for any chance at postseason play, the results at the end of October will have to be much better than they were at the end of September.

The Wildcats now face a lighter schedule, and they expect to take advantage of it to secure some wins.

“It’s not like it was here my first year, when it was hoping to get wins,” senior wide receiver David Roberts said. “We know when we step on the field if we play well we can play with anybody. We understand that.”

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