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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Back to Basics

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The No. 15 Arizona Wildcats hosted the Washington Huskies in a Pacific 1o Conference matchup Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010 at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. The Wildcats rolled to a 44-14 behind backup quarterback Matt Scott.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The No. 15 Arizona Wildcats hosted the Washington Huskies in a Pacific 1o Conference matchup Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010 at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. The Wildcats rolled to a 44-14 behind backup quarterback Matt Scott.

Although this weekend is a bye for Arizona football, the Wildcats still have a lot to improve upon after a 24-21 loss to USC on Saturday. Head coach Mike Stoops said after the loss that the all phases of game needed to take the week to improve before playing Oregon Nov. 25. Here’s what the offense, defense and special teams have been up to.

The offense

With its recent health struggles, the offense needs all the preparation and rest it can get.

Wide receivers David Roberts and William “”Bug”” Wright, and running back Nic Grigsby did not play against the Trojans last week.

“”You’re always scared about a bye week. You’re playing well and you get a bye week and then you’re not playing so well and you get a bye week, will it get better?”” said quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo. “”I think it’s hard, but this bye week is helping us get some bumps and bruises — get over those. Get some guys healthy again. Refocus on basic fundamentals.””

Stoops said that quarterback Matt Scott will most likely be ready to go this weekend at Oregon if called upon, and the bye week will give him a chance to get back into game time preparation before the team faces the Ducks.

The bye week has also given Scelfo the chance to go back and evaluate quarterback Nick Foles, and fix some aspects that weren’t present against USC and Stanford.

“”Every quarterback has a specific deficiency that they’ve been working on for theses three days,”” said quarterback’s coach Frank Scelfo. “”Our goals this week is each individual quarterback has to — it might be a release point, it might be depth on the drops, it might be footwork in the run game — every guy, we identify something before practice every day.””  

The defense

While the defense will also benefit from the chance to rest up and get healthy, co-defensive coordinator Tim Kish isn’t taking any time off.

“”We really went about our routine in pretty much the same way. We start with our film evaluations and break down their personnel groups, formations and gives us some extra time to get acquainted with them a little bit more,”” Kish said.

The Wildcats will welcome all the familiarity they can get with Oregon’s high-flying, fast paced offensive attack, which ranks first nationally in scoring and total offense. Arizona’s defense showed that is can be stout, but recently it has fallen short against the Pacific 10 Conference’s elite.

Kish said that while the bye week has been helpful for Arizona’s defense, he expects Oregon to bring a few surprises as well.

“”You’re going to assume that they’re going to come out with something in their bye week, as well, that we haven’t seen yet,”” Kish said.

Special Teams

A special team has been a focus point for Stoops recently, but not for a good reason. In the last two games for Arizona, special teams have struggled with punting, field goal conversions, and field position. And special teams coordinator Jeff Hammerschmidt is doing whatever it takes to make improvements, even if it means changing personnel this late in the season.

“”Your basic fundamentals. We’re trying to get some other guys kind of in the rotation a little bit,”” Hammerschmidt said. “”This late in the season where we’re at, we think we have to up the ante a little bit.””

Kicker Alex Zendejas will start doing pooch-punting duties for kicker Keenan Crier, a move which Hammerschmidt said was due to Zenedejas’ ability to execute the kicks.

Linebacker Derek Earls may even see time as punter.

“”You know, I almost threw him in last game, but I caught myself,”” Hammerschmidt. “”I didn’t do it, but he directional kicks really well land hang time and any time you’re playing teams that have big returners, hang time is real important. Plus, it’s an extra guy who can tackle.””

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