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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Failing offenses attempt to break out of slumps

    Two teams, one game, same problem.

    When Arizona lines up across from Stanford tomorrow afternoon, both teams will see one familiar dilemma: There’s no offense.

    “”Obviously, Stanford has a lot of the same issues we do,”” UA head coach Mike Stoops said. “”We’re both two teams trying to find our way, and a win will go a long way for both teams.””

    Added Cardinal coach Walt Harris: “”This is a big game for both teams.””

    Both offenses have struggled to kick into gear so far this season, with Stanford averaging 12.2 points per game to Arizona’s 11.2. And although Stanford’s running game gets the nod at 84.7 yards a game (Arizona ranks 118th out of 119 teams at an average of 54.8 yards), the Cardinal’s threat of a passing game (194.2) looks identical to their Wildcat counterpart (193.3).

    But there’s one major difference between the teams: Stanford is winless at 0-6, thanks in large part to a defense that’s surrendering more than 36 points a game and ranks dead last in Division I in stopping the run, allowing 269.7 yards per game.

    “”We’re not satisfied with our situation by any stretch of the imagination,”” Harris said, “”But if you don’t take something from what appears (to be) the things you are doing better, then I don’t think your confidence will grow. A person in my position – as well as the rest of our coaches – has to point out what’s good as well as what’s not so good.

    “”You do have to find out the good in what they’ve done and kind of pump their tires. It just helps them become better football players,”” he added. “”We’re starting to make some progress, but it is just frustrating that we’re our own worst enemy.””

    Stanford’s defense will look vaguely familiar to the Wildcats, as the Cardinal employ the same defensive set (three down linemen, four linebackers) as Arizona’s first opponent, Brigham Young.

    “”They run a 3-4, and they bring it from all different angles,”” said quarterback Adam Austin, starting in place of injured starter Willie Tuitama. “”So we just got to get them where we can use their angles to our advantage with the running game and the passing game.

    “”It’s something that is similar to BYU, so it’s something that we’ve prepared for already.””

    When Austin makes his second career start on Saturday, a seasoned Cardinal secondary, led by senior safeties Trevor Hooper and David Lofton, will be there to greet him.

    “”They’ve got some great experience in the secondary. They do some good things back there,”” said Mike Canales, the UA passing game coordinator. “”They’re kind of like – not so much bend-but-don’t-break – but they just try to make sure they keep everything in front of them and make you execute and then drive the football down the field and hope that you make mistakes.””

    And if both offenses continue their pace from early this season, the team with the least mistakes when it has the ball will likely come out on top.

    “”We need a ‘W,'”” defensive tackle Lionel Dotson said. “”If it’s going to be ugly, we don’t care. A ‘W’ is a ‘W.'””

    For quarterback, Stanford will trot out senior Trent Edwards, who threw for two scores and also led his team with 32 yards on the ground in the Cardinal’s 20-16 win over the Wildcats last season, and who has 1,027 yards to go along with six touchdowns through the air this season.

    “”(Edwards) likes to run around a little bit. Of course he’s not Stanback or anything,”” said cornerback Antoine Cason, referring to Washington quarterback Isaiah Stanback, who ran for 47 yards against Arizona two weeks ago, “”but we feel confident in trying to contain him.””

    With 10 returning starters on offense, not much has changed in Palo Alto, Calif.

    “”They do pretty much the same thing they did to us last year,”” Cason said. “”They like to give us some curls and dump the ball off and do things like that, but (it’s) pretty much the same thing.””

    Said Stoops: “”They had (just under) 200 yards on offense last year and beat us. That’s the thing we’re scared of.””

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