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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Cats finally take a breather

    UA quarterback Willie Tuitama evades the rush of UCLA defensive tackle Kevin Brown in the Wildcats 34-27 win over the Bruins on Saturday at Arizona Stadium.
    UA quarterback Willie Tuitama evades the rush of UCLA defensive tackle Kevin Brown in the Wildcats’ 34-27 win over the Bruins on Saturday at Arizona Stadium.

    Just when the Arizona football team finally seemed to get some momentum, it got a break.

    For the first time since the school year started, UA head coach Mike Stoops didn’t have to hold his weekly press conference yesterday. And for the first time all season, his team didn’t even have to practice.

    That’s because it’s a bye week, and the Wildcats will be getting some much-needed days off to rest following 10 straight weeks of arduous scheduling.

    “”I think it’s a plus and a negative at the same time,”” wide receiver Mike Thomas said after Saturday’s 34-27 win over UCLA. “”We’ve been going 10 weeks strong, and I think it’s a good chance for us to get our legs back just to refresh for a little while. But at the same time we’ve kind of been in a groove these last couple of games.

    “”It’s been very difficult,”” he added. “”In the middle of the week, my legs are already shot by Wednesday.””

    The 11th week is the latest Arizona has gone in a season before getting a bye since 1998, also the last year the Wildcats made a bowl game.

    “”The bye comes at a good time,”” Stoops, who is now out of town on a recruiting trip with other coaches, said Saturday. “”I think we’re a little bit tired right now physically and probably emotionally.””

    Stoops said Saturday that the team will review film today and practice lightly tomorrow through Friday. The team will be off Saturday and will continue with light practices Sunday through Tuesday to start preparing for its next game Nov. 15, Stoops said.

    That is when the Wildcats have a date with No. 3 Oregon, which also has a bye this week.

    Following the ESPN “”Thursday Night Football”” special, the Wildcats will have two more weeks off to prepare for the Territorial Cup game at ASU on Dec. 1. It’s the first time since 1970 that the game isn’t being played on Thanksgiving weekend.

    “”It came at the right time,”” running back Nicolas Grigsby said Saturday of the bye. “”We’re coming off a big win. We just gotta stay healthy, regain and keep our focus. We can’t stop our focus.””

    Added quarterback Willie Tuitama on Saturday: “”We’ve played 10 games straight. That’s kind of hard to do without a little bye.””

    Late hits

    Arizona junior kicker Jason Bondzio is the Pacific 10 Conference Special Teams Player of the Week, commissioner Tom Hansen announced yesterday.

    Bondzio converted his two field-goal opportunities – one a 48-yarder – and four point-after attempts for a total of 10 points in Arizona’s 34-27 Homecoming win over UCLA in Arizona Stadium on Saturday.

    Bondzio leads the team with 85 points scored, good for 10th all-time in school history. He is two field goals away from becoming only the fourth kicker in Arizona history to have 20 in a season.

    He is the third Wildcat selected for Pac-10 weekly special teams honors this season, and the second in two weeks.

    Punter Keenyn Crier won the award during the week of Oct. 13 after he had an 83-yard punt, one yard shy of the school record.

    Wide receiver-punt returner Mike Thomas won the award last week after returning six kicks for a combined 173 yards, including a 45-yarder late in the fourth quarter that sparked a late comeback that propelled the Wildcats to victory over Washington.

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