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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Vassallo’s keys to the game

Arizona senior linebacker Paul Vassallo, who led the Wildcats in tackles last season, shared his three keys to defeating Oklahoma State tonight.

1. Be consistent — “Definitely be consistent. Learn the lesson from last year. Play a full game.”

The Wildcats played anything but a full game a season ago. They found themselves down 14-0 with just under nine minutes remaining in the first quarter and could never mount a serious comeback. Nick Foles and company couldn’t sustain drives or capitalize on scoring opportunities, while the defense had its fair share of mental breakdowns.

2. Communicate — “On defense, know the call and if a guy motions or moves around, know how that changes the call.”

Arizona’s defense blew coverage after coverage and was rarely on the same page. Although the Wildcats only gave up 240 yards passing, the yards came in chunks (see 71-yard Justin Blackmon touchdown) and UA’s defense was never on the same page from start to finish.

3. Use our eyes — “Know what our key is. Know the call and how that affects everything.”

This goes hand in hand with communication. While the Wildcats can’t allow a Blackmon get behind them, they also have to shoot the gap on true sophomore running back Joseph Randle. The Cowboys are known for their aerial attack, but they ran the ball 40-plus times last weekend and can feature a balanced attack if that’s what the defense allows.

— Mike Schmitz

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