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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Tuitama could practice this week

    Senior quarterback Kris Heavner rears back to throw in Arizonas 17-10 loss to Oregon State Saturday at Arizona Stadium. Heavner, who made his first start since 2004, may be in competition for the quarterback job soon as redshirt senior Adam Austin and sophomore Willie Tuitama get closer to returning.
    Senior quarterback Kris Heavner rears back to throw in Arizona’s 17-10 loss to Oregon State Saturday at Arizona Stadium. Heavner, who made his first start since 2004, may be in competition for the quarterback job soon as redshirt senior Adam Austin and sophomore Willie Tuitama get closer to returning.

    The Arizona offense may get a much-needed boost from the return of two of its injured quarterbacks before it faces Washington State on the road Nov. 4.

    Sophomore Willie Tuitama, who’s started five games this season, could be cleared to practice this week after suffering two concussions within a month, the last of which came Oct. 7 at UCLA.

    “”If he’s cleared, he’s cleared; if he’s not, he’s not,”” UA head coach Mike Stoops said yesterday during the Pacific 10 Conference’s weekly teleconference. “”Hopefully I’ll know something here in the next 24 hours, and we’ll take it from there.””

    While Tuitama – who had been cleared to work out, but not for contact as of Saturday – could return to practice this week, backup Adam Austin, who suffered a slight sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his left knee at Stanford two weeks ago, is expected to return to practice Monday.

    “”Adam, he probably won’t be cleared until game week,”” Stoops said. “”(His knee) is tightening up, and we feel good hopefully to have him back by the game week.””

    The injuries left the signal-calling duties during Arizona’s 17-10 loss to Oregon State in the hands of senior Kris Heavner, who responded with a 17-of-26 passing performance for 161 yards, but also threw two late-game interceptions.

    “”I thought he did some good things and really kept us alive,”” Stoops said. “”He did about what we thought he’d be able to do.

    “”We were somewhat conservative,”” Stoops added, “”and (Oregon State’s) a tough team to be conservative with, because they crowd you and force you into trying to make some plays down the field.

    “”In my estimation, I think we were too conservative.””

    Running game woes re-emerge

    A week after exploding for 220 yards in a win over Stanford, the Arizona rushing attack reverted to its former self against the Beavers, gaining just 22 yards in the loss.

    “”We’re playing four freshmen on our front seven – three offensive linemen and our tight end, Earl Mitchell,”” Stoops said, “”so we’re a little bit not quite fully developed. (We’re) probably playing a lot of these guys before they’re probably equipped to … start and play 65 snaps a game.””

    Combined with Oregon State’s rush defense, which surrenders just 96.9 yards per game and is ranked second in the conference, Stoops felt the offensive problems compounded when considering the lack of recent experience under center.

    “”Playing without Willie or Adam I think just really limited us in what we could do offensively, and that’s nothing against Kris, it’s just the situation,”” Stoops said. “”Kris has had very limited playing time over the past two seasons.””

    Arizona won’t get much of a break two weeks from now, as Washington State ranks fourth in the conference at 109.2 yards per game.

    Quotable

    Cornerback Antoine Cason, after Saturday night’s loss: “”We still could’ve and should’ve won this game (against Oregon State). We could have easily won this game. It’s just some things that happen that don’t go our way, and for some reason they bite us harder than they do other teams, but just keep playing.””

    Stoops Saturday night, on the team’s struggles: “”I know you’re judged by wins and losses, but our kids are really playing hard, and it’s just – hard enough’s not good enough right now. We’ve just got to play a little bit better. That’s the bottom line.””

    Practice resumes tomorrow

    After taking Monday and yesterday away from the practice field because of the upcoming bye week, the team will resume regular workouts tonight.

    “”It’s probably a good time,”” Stoops said Saturday of the off week’s timing. “”Our kids get caught up in school – they’re in midterms and all that – so it’s a good time.””

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