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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Arizona wants consistency

    Terrell Turner celebrates in the end zone after catching a touchdown pass during Saturdays 45-24 win over NAU at Arizona Stadium. Reese caught one of five touchdowns passes in the game for the Wildcats, who will aim to duplicate the effort when they host New Mexico Saturday.
    Terrell Turner celebrates in the end zone after catching a touchdown pass during Saturday’s 45-24 win over NAU at Arizona Stadium. Reese caught one of five touchdowns passes in the game for the Wildcats, who will aim to duplicate the effort when they host New Mexico Saturday.

    New Mexico at Arizona

    Following a big week, the Arizona football team’s offense will now focus on the second phase of its progression in the spread offense: consistency.

    The Wildcats’ offensive production improved immensely in last weekend’s game against NAU, when they posted 490 yards of total offenseð after struggling to find any sort of rhythm offensively the week before at Brigham Young, gaining only 255 yards.

    “”We still have a long way to go, but we are definitely improving,”” said offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes. “”Like everything else I wish we could get it right now, but we are going to.

    “”As you can see we are a lot better this week than we were last week, and we will be a lot better (tomorrow) than we were (against NAU).””

    Naturally, Arizona’s goal now is proving it when the Wildcats (1-1) host New Mexico (1-1) at Arizona Stadium at 7 p.m. tomorrow.

    The reason for a more effective offense against NAU seemed simple. The Wildcats ran a more aggressive game plan with more passing.

    Quarterback Willie Tuitama attempted 36 passes Sept. 1 at BYU – a number he surpassed against the Lumberjacks with 44 attempts. Backup Kris Heavner also threw four times.

    Tuitama passed for 283 yards against NAU – 28 more yards than Arizona totaled against the Cougars. Complementing the total yards were the five touchdown passes that Tuitama threw to five different receivers.

    “”Coach (Dykes) opened up (the playbook) a little bit,”” Tuitama said. “”Just being able to have guys being able to make plays all over the field makes me more confident with everything.””

    Dykes maintained the philosophy whad not changed since the first game and that it was just a result of the team being able to run more plays.

    He stressed the importance of keeping the offense on the field as long as possible – leading to more points – while resting the defense.

    Because of Arizona’s lack of first downs against BYU, the offense was on and off the field quickly. The Wildcats ran only 57 offensive plays against BYU, compared to 81 against the Lumberjacks.

    “”The game played out differently,”” Dykes said. “”When you run twice as many plays that means you can throw it more and open things up a little more.””

    Following last weekend’s victory, cornerback Antoine Cason said “”that is what (Arizona) should expect”” from its offense every week. But now the competitive bar is raised, as the Wildcats face a NCAA Division-IA opponent in New Mexico.

    “”The expectations are the same as they always are for the offense,”” said linebacker Spencer Larsen. “”We expect them to score points and keep us off the field as much as possible.””

    In its first two games, Arizona has struggled to set the tone offensively from the onset. The Wildcats registered only one first down and 41 yards in the first half against BYU, and scored only one offensive touchdown before halftime against NAU.

    “”It’s always important to start well,”” Dykes said. “”It is always good to come out early, get comfortable and get into a rhythm. I think if we do that, we will be fine.””

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