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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Grigsby gets starting job

    True freshman Nicolas Grigsby tries to get past California safety Thomas DeCoud in Saturdays 45-27 loss in Berkeley, Calif. UA head coach Mike Stoops said Grigsby will start again this week against Washington State.
    True freshman Nicolas Grigsby tries to get past California safety Thomas DeCoud in Saturday’s 45-27 loss in Berkeley, Calif. UA head coach Mike Stoops said Grigsby will start again this week against Washington State.

    After shuffling running backs in and out of the lineup through the first four weeks of the season, Arizona head coach Mike Stoops has decided on a feature back – true freshman Nicolas Grigsby.

    Grigsby got his first collegiate start against No. 6 California on Saturday, gaining 42 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown, and also adding four catches for 21 yards.

    Stoops said Grigsby would be the main back again this weekend when the Wildcats take on Washington State at home.

    “”Nic will take probably most of the volume at running back,”” Stoops said. “”He continues to progress like all young players. He is starting to be more consistent, and that is important.””

    “”He is a very talented player, and I think he likes to compete and he likes to play. … And he likes challenges,”” Stoops added.

    The team held Grigsby out of the New Mexico game Sept. 15, after he carried nine times for 56 yards the previous week against NAU.

    Heading into the Lobos game, Grigsby said the Wildcats would score their first rushing touchdown of the season.

    Grigsby came through on his promise a week late, scoring on a 3-yard run against the Golden Bears.

    The only other running back to get his hands on the ball Saturday was Chris Jennings, and he had only one attempt for no gain.

    Though Stoops said Grigsby has some improving to do – especially with blocking – the youngster has shown bursts of speed and explosiveness Jennings and Xavier Smith may lack.

    “”It was something I wanted, so I worked hard and I got it,”” Grigsby said of being the first freshman to start at running back in five seasons. “”I just came in planning on helping the team, but starting came and I’ll take it and run with it.””

    Offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes said he is confident in Grigsby’s ability.

    “”What I like about him is he is fearless,”” Dykes said. “”I really like what he is doing, and I think he has a good chance at being a great player.””

    Arizona’s struggles in red zone continue

    Arizona’s offense proved once again it could be effective in

    moving the ball, but consistently shot itself in the foot when nearing scoring territory, falling victim to an array of mental mistakes, turnovers and execution problems in the red zone.

    The Wildcats reached the California’s 20-yard line seven times, scoring touchdowns on only three occasions.

    “”It is very frustrating always when you leave points on the field … always knowing that you’re capable of scoring 40 points,”” said wide receiver Delashaun Dean. “”When you come in to watch film you know it’s just small things that you need to clean up to bust the scoreboard wide open.””

    The Wildcats have reached the red zone 19 times this season, coming away with points only 12 times. In the unsuccessful efforts, Arizona has lost the ball on downs three times, missed field goal attempts twice and turned the ball over twice.

    Stoops said the offense struggles to score closer to the goal line because the field of play shrinks, meaning less margin for error when passing.

    And Arizona has had to pass often, given its lack of a dependable rushing attack.

    “”Obviously, we have some work to do in the red zone and just (on) the offense period,”” said receiver Mike Thomas. “”When you put out the work, the points will come.””

    Lack of sacks not a worry, Holmes productive

    Although the defense has struggled this season, defensive coordinator Mark Stoops said the lack of sacks isn’t something to worry about.

    While the Wildcats have had a hard time stopping the run of late, Mark Stoops said the Wildcats’ pressure has been solid despite only eight sacks recorded.

    “”I think there has been some good pressure at times,”” Mark Stoops said. “”The quarterbacks do a good job a lot of times getting rid of the ball. They are smart. They know they have to pick and choose, and they are smart of the play action.””

    Mike Stoops said he thought defensive end Louis Holmes had his most productive game of the season Saturday, as the senior recorded three solo tackles and two quarterback knockdowns.

    “”We play hard until there is not time left on the clock, and that is all we can do,”” Holmes said. “”Things have been going a little slow for me, but I am here to play, and I signed up for this job.””

    – Mike Ritter contributed to this report

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