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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona football’s loss at Oregon already in rearview mirror

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Nate Barrett / Emerald Senior defensive end Dion Jordan (96) hangs on and attempts to takedown junior runningback Daniel Jenkins (3).

After every game this season, the Arizona Wildcats (3-1, 0-1 Pac-12) have practiced on Sunday instead of starting the week on Monday like most other schools.

Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez has emphasized that his team starts work on the next week’s opponent every Sunday morning as a way to put the last game behind them, win or loss. He’s called it a “24 hour rule,” to make sure the team doesn’t linger in excitement or sadness following Saturday’s game.

In preparation for No. 18 Oregon State, the Wildcats’ offense watched Saturday’s ugly 49-0 loss at Oregon together, a rarity for Rodriguez and his coaching staff.

In Monday’s weekly press conference, senior quarterback Matt Scott noted that Arizona’s performance on Saturday had already moved to the back of their minds.

“I think it’s helpful,” Scott said of the Wildcats’ practice schedule. “It’s one game, really. We have a long season ahead of us.”

Scott and the offense had their worst performance of the season, failing to gain more than 400 yards of total offense for the first time this season. Scott also threw three interceptions, two of which were returned for Oregon touchdowns.

Rodriguez mentioned that last week’s practices were not as crisp as previous game weeks, but senior center Kyle Quinn said there was not a specific reason: “We just didn’t practice great last week.”

“We can’t really look at the past,” Quinn continued. “This week, we’re going to take it one day at a time and put it behind us.”

Defense continues to improve

The Wildcats’ Achilles heel a season ago was the poor play of their defense, which was 110th in the nation.

The defensive line, which has had to add offensive players like fullback Taimi Tutogi to solve depth problems, is finally getting the push it needs, especially in the run game.

“They hung in there and gave us a chance in the game,” head coach Rich Rodriguez said.

Against Oregon, the Wildcats held Heisman contender De’Anthony Thomas to 48 yards rushing on 12 carries and just 11 yards on two receptions.

“I feel like they did a great job,” redshirt freshman linebacker Sir Thomas Jackson said. “I felt like we did a really good job on their running backs.”

Jackson specifically cited Arizona defensive end Dominque Austin for his performance.

The focus of the defense now switches to an Oregon State team that, unlike the first four teams the Wildcats faced, does not run a spread offense.

“They have a lot of different formations,” Jackson said. “They have three tight ends that are real huge.”

How can Arizona’s defense counter that with their lack of size and depth?

“Be physical,” Jackson said. “Physical team defense.”

Environment did not affect Arizona receivers

Senior Quarterback Matt Scott had his worst performance of the season, completing 50 percent of his passes with three interceptions. Some of his passes were missed assignments by receivers, according to Rodriguez.

“We have some routes where you read the coverage, there were a couple busts there,” Rodriguez said. “The environment and atmosphere, they were into it and handled it OK, we just didn’t execute.”

Some of Scott’s missed throws came in the red zone, where the Wildcats failed to score all six times they crossed the 20-yard-line.

“Every time you’re in the red zone you expect to score,” Scott said. “We couldn’t make it happen. We couldn’t capitalize on defensive stops. It hurt us a lot.”

Scott’s injury not severe

In the first quarter of Saturday night’s game, ESPN showed Scott jogging to the locker room after taking a helmet to the hip.

Scott practiced yesterday and walked without a limp in Monday’s press conference. Although he returned to the game, Scott did indicate that his running game might have suffered because of the injury.

“I was hesitant to run the ball,” Scott said. “You’re going to take hits, get hurt. You have to get going.”

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