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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Zendejas holds starting job, Stoops won’t go for two

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.

Alex Zendejas missed back-to-back extra points against the USC Trojans on Saturday, but according to UA head coach Mike Stoops, the senior will get the starting nod against Oregon State this weekend.

“We might have an open tryout here before long,” Stoops joked during his Monday press conference.

It got so bad last week against USC that Stoops eventually decided to go for a 2-point conversion — which the Wildcats converted — instead of going for the extra point.

In fact, Stoops said Monday that if the Wildcats were able to score the touchdown to bring Saturday’s game within a point, he would have decided to go for two and the win.

He added that going for two every time is not an ideal situation for the future, no matter how poor the kickers are playing.

The Wildcats have looked at kickoff man John Bonano having a shot at trying field goals and extra points, but Stoops noted that Bonano’s accuracy and consistency would need improvement before he would be considered an option.

Washington sidelined with knee surgery

Wildcat defensive tackle Justin Washington will be out while he recovers from a minor knee surgery, Stoops said.

Optimistically, Washington will be back to play UCLA on Oct. 20.
Washington didn’t play last week at USC and hasn’t been effective so far this season after coming off a Freshman All-American year in 2010.

Stoops said that part of the reason for Washington’s diminished play has to do with a lingering knee problem.

“I think it was bothering him a little bit,” Stoops said. “He (hasn’t been) at full strength where he needed to be.”

An offense on the rise brings hope

Nick Foles’ numbers stayed consistent and the team ran for a season-high 129 yards on Saturday against USC. With a better blocking set up front, the Arizona running backs were able to find the gaps and capitalize to move the ball downfield.

Contributions from tight end and H-back Drew Robinson and H-back Taimi Tutogi, as well as the improving offensive line play, added a new dynamic to a previously one-dimensional offense.

“You can only control what you can, and I thought as an offense we played really well,” Arizona center Kyle Quinn said. “First two drives started out a little slow, but then we really picked it up.

“It was a lot of fun to play in that game in the second half. We were moving the ball, running the ball, passing it,” he continued. “I was really proud of how we all played as a group, it was probably our best game yet.”

*A defense on the fall *

The biggest problem for the Arizona defense is inconsistency.

For Arizona cornerback Shaquille Richardson, that was evident on Saturday on one of the first plays after his interception, when Trojan wideout Robert Woods burned him for an easy touchdown catch.

Stoops said that the solutions to his problems are not rocket science.

“(He just has) to play better,” Stoops said. “Be more consistent at practice and everything he does. That’s the thing with him, you’ll see a great play and then you’ll see a play that isn’t made. He’s lacking consistency, but I think he has a lot of talent as a player.”

In terms of the unit as a whole, defensive tackle Saneilia Fuimaono didn’t think that the defense would be struggling as much as they had been before the season started.

“It’s surprising,” he said. “But it happens. With the game of football, there’s always road blocks that come our way. We always hit a few speed bumps, but the main thing is to just stay on our course getting better everyday.”

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