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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Arizona football is tired of losing


Wide Receiver Nate Phillips (6) with a teammate on Arizona stadium on Saturday, Oct. 24. Arizona lost 42-45

The 47,847 people — including a dismal showing by the ZonaZoo — who attempted to fill Arizona Stadium on Oct. 24 weren’t even close to doing so.

Sounds like the Wildcats are tired of losing. Are you?

Remember Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon after the Wildcats lost in the Fiesta Bowl last season? He sat with his head toward the floor answering every question reporters threw at him in the locker room, blaming the loss entirely on him. That was the face of an athlete who had just lost the biggest game of his career.

In Arizona’s three total losses this season, two have been blowouts, while one went down to the wire. In the Wildcats’ most recent loss to Washington State, just one field goal could have sent the game into overtime.

“I think when it is a close loss, you evaluate every play as a potential game winning play — more than when you get beat by 20,” said Arizona football head coach Rich Rodriguez. “You’re still mad but you don’t review each play thinking that it could have won the game. I think when you lose closely, you do that more which makes it more frustrating.”

Tucson has rarely been a football town. In fact, Rodriguez is the first football coach since Dick Tomey to boast a winning record at the end of a season. The Wildcats haven’t won a conference championship since 1993.

“Every day, we wake up and get ready to play football,” safety Will Parks said. “This is what we do. We do this everyday. We have been doing it since we were six years old. Everybody on this team loves football.”

Parks has displayed his senior leadership this season by leading a depleted Arizona defense. He knows losing sucks, but at the end of the day, one team has to walk away disappointed. That’s sports.

“To fail like we did on Saturday is to lose something that is really important to you and every single person on this team feels that way,” Parks said. “We all took the loss to heart. I am pretty sure when everybody went home on Saturday, they thought we have to do whatever we have to do in order to make changes and in order to be successful as a team.”

This is a team that took Saturday’s loss to heart. Arizona pummeled Oregon State into oblivion after its loss to Stanford.

Will the same outcome happen this Saturday against Washington? That’s what the Wildcats are undoubtedly playing for.

But what I know is that Arizona football does not give up. Rodriguez preaches 60 minutes of UA football and the Wildcats have proven they can win close games in the past. All one has to do is think about the “Hill Mary” victory over California last season.

“There are a lot of things that we have to do to be successful and I guarantee that we will do that,” Parks said. “It’s what we have to do.”

It’s evident that Parks is tired of losing, along with Rodriguez and the rest of the Wildcat team, but the defense simply did not show up against a pass hungry Washington State team.

Arizona fans had hope this season after what was one of the Wildcats’ best years of football in program history. A solid receiving corps, Anu Solomon back at the helm and Rodriguez entering his fourth season with the Wildcats — everything was in order for another historic season for Arizona football.

Arizona’s 5-3 record is well below the high expectations Tucson had for its football squad this year.

Jerrard Randall may very well be the starting quarterback on Saturday and Scooby Wright III has been plagued by injuries all season.

Four games remain on the Wildcats’ 2015 regular season schedule — four Pac-12 Conference opponents — with Washington, USC, Utah and ASU.

There are 240 minutes of Arizona football left to prove this season is not going to waste. Will you be there?

Follow Matt Wall on Twitter.

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