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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Total team effort needed

Despite their hot start to the year, the Arizona Wildcats are still looking for that complete team effort.

In every game this season, there has been some part of the Arizona football team that failed to show up.

Against Iowa, the Wildcat offense disappeared in the second half, and, as a result, the Hawkeyes nearly pulled off a comeback that would have been of Oregon (in 2009) proportions.

The offense was still on hiatus during the Cal game, and only a last minute touchdown from quarterback Nick Foles to receiver Juron Criner gave the Wildcats the one-point victory.

It was the defense that did Arizona in against Oregon State. The defensive line couldn’t get to Ryan Katz, and when it did he still managed to burn the secondary.

Special teams were also a problem for the Wildcats, with a missed field goal and a point after try that left dangling off the scoreboard.

Even Washington State exploited a Wildcat weakness — the Arizona offensive line gave up six sacks to a Cougar defense  that only had a total of 10 coming into the game.

This week though, there is no room for error on any side of the ball.

With Nick Foles sidelined for at least two weeks, Matt Scott enters as Wildcat quarterback in the middle of the season.

So by default, Scott has the pre-determined learning curve this weekend, even before the game starts.

That’s not to say that he will be the aspect of the team that fails to show up, but he will most certainly be the part that has to make the most adjustment.

Scott knows the offense — he was the starter at the beginning of last season, after all — but it was clear when he entered the game last weekend that there was still some adjustment that needed to happen.

And that adjustment applies to the offensive line, running backs, receivers and even the defense.

Even if Mike Stoops and the Arizona coaching staff say that the Wildcat offense won’t change, quarterback isn’t exactly a replaceable position. Each has a different style of play, and it’s clear that Foles and Scott differ on many levels.

That’s the reason all phases of the ball need to show up, especially against a Washington team that is looking to turn its season around and live up to its preseason hype that reached the Huskies all the way in Seattle…

No more sacks. No more drive-killing penalties. No more missed opportunities for points.

Not at home, and especially not if you want to save any buzz from being an early-season surprise in the Pacific-10 Conference.

The defense seemed to right the ship against Washington State, but Jake Locker is ever capable of having a breakout game. Just ask Oregon State.

It will be enough of an adjustment for the Wildcats to have another player claim the reins without adding more roadblocks, or more pressure for a Wildcat victory.

If the coaching staff really wants to prove that Wildcat nation shouldn’t be pushing the panic button just yet, Arizona will need to make a statement at home against Washington. And for that to happen, a team effort needs to be displayed at Arizona Stadium on Saturday.

— Nicole Dimtsios is a journalism junior. She can be reached at sports@email.ariona.edu

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