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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Playcalling in question

    Brigham Young backup running back Harvey Unga evades three Arizona defensive linemen during the Wildcats 20-7 loss Saturday in Provo, Utah. Unga ran all over Arizona, amassing total 194 yards to the Wildcats 255.
    Brigham Young backup running back Harvey Unga evades three Arizona defensive linemen during the Wildcats’ 20-7 loss Saturday in Provo, Utah. Unga ran all over Arizona, amassing total 194 yards to the Wildcats’ 255.

    BYU 20, Arizona 7

    The Arizona football team knows it has some work to do offensively if it wants to compete with Pacific 10 Conference powerhouses.

    Particularly, the playcalling may be altered a bit in the upcoming weeks.

    Offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes called a game for the first time in his career Saturday, and head coach Mike Stoops said he was disappointed in Dykes’ choice of plays.

    “”I think Sonny was probably too conservative,”” Stoops said, adding that he was surprised about how little his team could do offensively.

    “”They don’t get shut down very often. … I’m shocked, disappointed and probably a little bit embarrassed, but that’s what this game will do to you.””

    Stoops said he never thought about calling plays during the game, but pointed out a key play with six minutes left in the game, with the Wildcats down 13-0, on fourth-and-five. Dykes opted to go for it, and Arizona couldn’t convert.

    “”We probably should have punted with six minutes to go and still give our defense a chance to pin them down and score and still fight our way through it,”” Stoops said.

    Even defensive players were surprised about the conservative play calling.

    “”We have to be a team that’s aggressive,”” said cornerback Antoine Cason. “”We’re not a top-10 team that can play conservatively. We have to go out and throw things at teams they’re not ready for.

    “”That’s what we have to do if we want to gain respect here and win football games.””

    Dykes’ style of offense in the past has involved quick, short passing. On Saturday, quarterback Willie Tuitama did just that, Stoops said, but the offensive unit as a whole came out looking slow.

    Stoops also called out the team’s running ability, or lack thereof.

    “”They seemed to be one step ahead of our offense for whatever reason,”” he said of Brigham Young’s defenders. “”I think a lot of it goes down to our inability to run the football.

    “”Offensively, we didn’t play particularly fast. We looked a little timid and not sure of ourselves, and you can’t play that way against a big-time opponent like we did the other day.””

    Stoops said the team will test out all three running backs – Chris Jennings, Xavier Smith and Nick Grigsby – this week and may even name a new starter before Saturday’s matchup with NAU. He added that Jennings and Smith are the frontrunners.

    “”We need to get more out of our running back position,”” Stoops said. “”That’s something we’ll continue to evaluate. Chris Jennings didn’t have a lot of running room, either.””

    In preparation for Saturday’s game, both the offense and the defense got together yesterday to watch game film. “”I don’t think we played as bad as we could have played,”” said safety Dominic Patrick. “”It’s not so bad, we just made a couple mistakes that we’ve got to fix for next weekend.

    “”It was the first game of the season,”” he added. “”Missed tackles are kind of expected because of the game speed, but it’s still no excuse because it’s the first game.””

    The team also wanted to take nothing away from Brigham Young, who successfully avenged a season-opening loss from last year.

    “”It was a tough opener for a lot of reasons,”” Stoops said. “”There’s no excuse for the way we played by any stretch of the imagination, but I do think BYU had a lot to do with it.””

    He added that he thinks they could compete in any BCS conference.

    “”They have a whole team full of Spencer Larsens,”” he said, citing Arizona’s senior linebacker. “”I’d take 100 Spencer Larsens if I could get them. That’s what you have to realize. They have maturity.””

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