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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Stoops ready to battle Iowa

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Arizona Wildcats take on The Citadel Bulldogs Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010, at Arizona Stadium in Tucson Ariz. The Wildcats rolled the Bulldogs 52-6 to earn their second win of the season.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Arizona Wildcats take on The Citadel Bulldogs Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010, at Arizona Stadium in Tucson Ariz. The Wildcats rolled the Bulldogs 52-6 to earn their second win of the season.

You probably won’t ever hear head coach Mike Stoops call his team’s performance “”perfect,”” but he came pretty close to it during his weekly press conference on Monday.

“”I thought it was good in a lot of different areas,”” he said of his team’s performance against The Citadel. “”I thought our players did a great job in preparation. Defensively, playing the triple-option, it’s a tough deal to prepare for a team that runs that style but I thought our coaches did a great job and the players played assignment football.””

It’s difficult to find very many flaws in a 52-6 victory but Stoops has some things in mind. His defensive tackles can play better and, according to Stoops, play stronger off the ball and the running game also has room for improvement.

“”I didn’t think we ran the ball particularly well in the first half, we still have some missed assignments in our run game,”” Stoops said. “”We need to get better to have that balance that we want in our team.””

The Wildcats’ 2-0 start has come at the hands of two inferior opponents, but outscoring both teams by a total of 93-8 is not something to dismiss just because of the teams on the other side of the field.

“”I think they served a great purpose for us and they helped us in a lot of ways,”” Stoops said of playing Toledo and The Citadel. “”We’re healthy, we didn’t get stressed too much in those first two games, we ought to be relatively fresh and that’s good. That’s where you want to be.””

Stoops looks ahead to Iowa

Despite the rock-solid performances in the first two weeks, it wouldn’t be realistic to expect Arizona to hang up over 40 points again this week against Iowa, and Stoops is well aware of that.

“”They’re a tremendous team in virtually every facet you look at,”” Stoops said. “”They’re a very physically mature team and they play very maturely throughout the entirety of their team.””

Stoops repeatedly commented on not only how talented the Hawkeyes are on both sides of the ball, but how fundamentally sound they are.

“”Strengths, they have so many, but their offensive and defensive lines are a great place to start and that gives you a chance to do a lot of different things on both sides of the ball,”” Stoops said. “”That’s where they certainly excel and present some challenges to us. It’s going to be a tremendous game.””

Unlike a lot of marquee out of conference games, Arizona has recent head-to-head tape to watch on the Hawkeyes. The Wildcats rode into Kinnick Stadium last year with a 2-0 record and left it embarrassed after a 27-17 loss.

Stoops said that his team learned a lot from that loss.

“”I thought we had some scoring opportunities a year ago but we weren’t quite good enough to get it done,”” Stoops said. “”They played more consistently throughout that game. We had some opportunities and just couldn’t convert, and we have to be able to find some ways to convert and move the football.””

Stoops referenced a scoreless possession inside of Iowa’s five yard line, a botched fake field goal and several missed open receivers as key components to the loss, but nothing stood out more than a play that Iowa ran in the second half as a mere time-killer that resulted in a game clinching play.

“”Hopefully they won’t run a draw on third-and-32 for a first down,”” Stoops said referring to a defensive gaffe that cost the Wildcats the game last year. “”You can’t make mistakes like that when you play a team like Iowa that will convert. Next thing you know, they scored.””

‘Red Out’ expected to raise intensity

The atmosphere for The Citadel game was imposing for the visiting Bulldogs, but no one expects it to compare to what the crowd will be like this Saturday. The fans are encouraged to wear all red, similar to last year’s Oregon game, and the game is expected to sell out.

The fury of the ZonaZoo and the rest of Arizona Stadium is enough to make any opposition buckle and Stoops hopes to get the crowd riled up from the first snap on.

“”The crowd is always important. I think we want to create as much confusion as we can for Iowa and the crowd noise becomes a big part of that confusion,”” Stoops said. “”We have to give (the crowd) something to cheer about to get them in the game early and keep them in the game. You want to create a hostile environment for any team on the road.””

The excitement around campus carries into the locker room as well.

“”These games you don’t have to say a lot, it makes your job pretty easy,”” Stoops said when asked how he will handle his players this week. “”I don’t have any worries about our team being ready to play.””

Stoops said he has no doubt that his players will be ready to play, and while that is a big key to success, it isn’t everything.

“”Being good enough, being creative enough, coaching good enough, that’s what we have to do,”” Stoops said. “”We have to put some change ups in there on both sides of the ball and try to create some different looks.””

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