The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

105° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Austin to lead Cats vs. ‘Jacks

    Fresh off a 45-3 loss to No. 6 Louisiana State, things need to change for Arizona. Tomorrow, they hope to start with themselves.

    On the field, the Wildcats (1-1) will look to do away with the mistakes that plagued them last week in Baton Rouge, La., when they take on Division I-AA Stephen F. Austin (0-2) tomorrow evening at 7 at Arizona Stadium.

    But they will likely have to do it without starting quarterback Willie Tuitama, who returned to practice last night for the first time since sustaining a concussion against LSU last weekend.

    Redshirt senior Adam Austin, who relieved Tuitama in the third quarter last week and finished 8-of-19 for 67 yards and an interception, will get the nod under center tomorrow night for his first career start.

    “”Adam’s got a lot of experience, and he really understands the offense well,”” UA head coach Mike Stoops said Wednesday. “”If Adam is going to start, I’m sure he’ll do a great job.””

    Stoops also said Wednesday that Tuitama would be available for backup duty if he returned to practice this week, which he did yesterday.

    Austin’s first start comes in a game that could go a long way toward reinvigorating depleted confidence reserves.

    “”We’re going to worry about our team. … It doesn’t much matter to me who we’re playing,”” Stoops said. “”We need to get better as a football team, and we can. We can still have a very good football team when it’s all said and done.””

    Added cornerback Antoine Cason: “”You know, you can’t take anyone lightly, but it’s a game to clean up everything that happened Saturday and, of course, get our feet back under us. … It’s still early in the season.””

    And because of that, the team isn’t dwelling on the blowout in Baton Rouge.

    “”It’s over with now. We can’t go back and change it,”” said defensive end Louis Holmes. “”We’ve just got to move on from here.””

    Said Stoops: “”It’s just a game, and we need to bounce back.

    “”You try to learn from it to understand that we can’t play this way. And we talked about turnovers and we talked about … (the fact that) these are things we can’t do against good football teams and win.””

    In order to bounce back, the Wildcats will need their offense, ranked last in the Pacific 10 Conference with 202.5 yards per game – 168.5 behind ninth-place Stanford – to kick into gear.

    “”Offensively, I don’t think we’ve hit anything right yet,”” Stoops said. “”I don’t think we’ve gotten in a groove, and that takes a little bit of time.””

    Though LSU’s defense last weekend wasn’t exactly a cakewalk – ranking first in the country in points allowed and third in yards allowed – the Wildcat offense struggled for a second consecutive week, gaining just 152 yards of total offense.

    “”I mean, offensively, it takes a whole unit. If you miss a block, it can shut down the whole play. If you drop a pass, it does what it does to the offense,”” said wideout Mike Thomas, who’s been slowed by an ankle injury this season, catching four passes for 33 yards. “”It just takes everybody, and if everybody’s not clicking, then the offense is not going to click. We just got to get in that rhythm and get in that groove and get it moving.””

    On the ground, Arizona has gained 102 yards as a team through two games – last in the conference at 51 yards per game – led by starter Chris Henry’s 65 yards and backup Chris Jennings’ 60.

    Although Jennings out-gained Henry 53 yards to 2 last week, with the bulk of Jennings’ carries coming against the Tigers’ reserves, Henry remains Stoops’ starter.

    “”(Jennings) will split time with (Henry). Chris Henry’s our starter,”” Stoops said. “”I thought Chris Jennings made a couple of nice plays. He’ll continue to get quality playing time.””

    If the offense starts clicking, the Wildcats could find themselves coasting to a win and be a step closer to regaining their confidence.

    “”Confidence is confidence if you play anyone,”” Cason said. “”If you win, confidence is high.””

    But before confidence, Stoops said, comes better execution.

    “”I just think we have to get better, and that’s what good teams do throughout the year,”” he said. “”We have to get better, because I don’t think we’ve played anywhere close to where we’re capable of playing yet. I still think we’re capable of a lot more.””

    Dennard quits team

    Junior wide receiver B.J. Dennard left the team last night for personal reasons.

    “”I’ve met with B.J., and he indicated he was leaving the team for personal reasons,”” Stoops said in a statement. “”We certainly wish the best for him in his future both on and off the football field.””

    Neither Stoops nor any member of his coaching staff were available for further comment.

    The matchups

    Wide Receivers
    Offensive Line
    Defensive Line
    Defensive Backs
    Running Backs
    Bottom Line: UA

    A return to the friendly confines of Arizona Stadium will do the Wildcats right. Look for the Cats to rebound in a big way.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search