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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Which 2010 coach is under more pressure?

The theme for the 2010 Arizona football team is clear-cut: Rose Bowl or bust.

The theme for Sean Miller and the 2010 Arizona basketball team: Another year in transition? One more season to develop the super sophomores in hopes of making a run in 2011? A second go-around at solidifying that it truly is the Sean Miller era in Tucson?

In terms of football, the time is now. The Pacific 10 Conference is wide open and 2010 is the year for Arizona, meaning head coach Mike Stoops is under more pressure to win now more than ever.

Powerhouse USC is banned from postseason play for the next two seasons. Former Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli smoked his way out of Eugene and the Ducks are hurting for a replacement, and ASU is as sorry as it’s been in years.

His job may not be under fire, but fans expect a trip to the Rose Bowl, and if Stoops is unable to deliver, 2010 will be marked as a year of disappointment.

But what is at stake for Miller this season? I understand it is his second season at Arizona with Momo Jones, Derrick Williams and their running mates, but does anybody truly expect them to headline the Pac-10 or erase the program’s one-year hiatus from The Big Dance?

If Miller doesn’t deliver, there’s always next season when his group of youngsters are still only juniors, or the year after that when they are experienced seniors.

For Stoops, the 2010 freshman class is certainly impressive, but Nick Foles’ window is closing, and Nic Grigsby, Colin Baxter, Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore are all in their last season at Arizona.

Miller’s squad has one senior on the roster in Jamelle Horne, so Miller still has time to falter.

And with the additions of the University of Utah in 2011 and the University of Colorado to the conference in 2012, things will only get tougher in the football spectrum, reaffirming that this is the year for Stoops.

The Utes are a proven commodity on the gridiron and are another team the Wildcats have to get by in conference play. But both UC Boulder and Utah are far from impressive on the hardwood, meaning Miller’s level of competition doesn’t increase.

There is no question Miller needs an impressive second season to prove that all of that Atlantic 10 Conference success wasn’t a fluke, but Wildcat country is thinking Rose Bowl, and Stoops is under pressure to deliver.

– Mike Schmitz

 

The element of “”pressure”” has always been burning for Arizona men’s basketball coach Sean Miller.

Whether it was being the son of a high school basketball coach, a childhood appearance on Johnny Carson’s “”The Tonight Show”” or a mightily successful college career at the University of Pittsburgh, Miller has been under watchful and critical eyes for a while.

That’s because he’s generally pretty good — and well known — in what he does. At Arizona, it’s no different.

Expectations equate to pressure and, because of that, Miller has more of it than head football coach Mike Stoops or any members of his program.

Stoops didn’t inherit an annual superpower. He’s slowly built a competitive team — no expectations, only potential.

Miller didn’t fill in a vacancy for a program in shambles, as did Stoops — well, as far as its winning percentages, it wasn’t in complete shambles. He arrived to promote an already-solidified tradition of excellence.

Even discounting the standards former head basketball coach Lute Olson set prior to Miller’s arrival, he still has the fans ready to shake off last season and see their Wildcats return to the NCAA Tournament.

Easier said than done, especially with such a young team. But it’s still expected. Why?

Miller came to Arizona as an already elite young coach, not some unknown hire. As far as most are concerned, Arizona is still a basketball school, at least until the football team gets the Rose Bowl monkey off its back.

Though Stoops hasn’t taken steps backward during his tenure, because he hasn’t taken a mighty step forward doesn’t make his case for having more to lose than does Miller. If Stoops fails to please fans, they’ll jump back onto the Stoops-jeering bandwagon that was common before he led Arizona to the Las Vegas Bowl in 2008.

Nothing new.

But if Miller fails, the savior that would return Arizona basketball to national prominence would run the risk of being called a failure although that’s not to say that in year two that is fair at all, but it sure would spook the fanbase.

A flop by Stoops and fans might say, “”I told you so.”” But with a flop by Miller, fans might be wondering if they’ll ever relive the old days, when Arizona basketball ruled.

– Kevin Zimmerman

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