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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

No rest for the weary

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Arizona Wildcats opened Pacific 10 Conference play against the University of California on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010, at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. The Wildcats rallied from a six-point deficit and scored the go-ahead touchdown in the final two minutes to edge the Golden Bears 10-9.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Arizona Wildcats opened Pacific 10 Conference play against the University of California on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010, at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. The Wildcats rallied from a six-point deficit and scored the go-ahead touchdown in the final two minutes to edge the Golden Bears 10-9.

Spent. Exhausted. Worn-out.

The UA football team certainly needed a week off.

Arizona’s 4-0 record to start the season and the national climb was worth it, but after back-to-back weeks of fourth quarter thrillers, the Wildcats must be physically and emotionally spent.

The Wildcats didn’t practice Monday or Tuesday, but in a season where the Rose Bowl hopes to be the final destination, that doesn’t mean that Arizona will have much time off.

The bye is nestled during a time when Arizona needs it most, already into conference play, but not so far down the road where it can just be used for resting purposes — although, no doubt, the Wildcats do need the time off.

Several starters, including receiver Juron Criner, H-back Taimi Tutogi and return man Travis Cobb are all battling injuries.

While the rest and the chance for recuperation is nice, Arizona has some other creeping issues it needs to fix — before it’s too late.

Penalties

The Wildcats need to start by assessing its penalty situation. Twenty-two penalties in the last two games, for a combined 202 yards, are holding Arizona back. The Wildcats’ opponents have a combined 22 penalties for 177 yards in four games.

And the flags flying around the field aren’t just discouraging, they’ve been drive- and momentum-killers for Arizona.

“”I don’t know. I’m really disappointed in that aspect,”” said head coach Mike Stoops. “”We’ve been good enough to overcome them, but that’s only going to last, I told them, so long.””

Free yards for the Wildcats’ opponents and self-penalization on offense could be the difference between a win and a loss in Pac-10 play. That’s something that Arizona can’t afford to give up in a year in which the conference title is likely to be decided by a matter of inches.

Run, Arizona, Run

Half of the reason the offense hasn’t been absolutely stellar lately could be attributed to penalties. And the other half could be with Arizona’s running problem.

While short sweep passes and option plays to the running backs may mask a run game, it won’t be enough to take the pressure off quarterback Nick Foles during the rest of Pac-10 play.

With three experienced — and healthy running backs, it’s time for the run game to explode for Arizona. The Wildcats saw what a decent running game can do when Cal’s Shane Vereen sliced Arizona for 102 yards on Saturday.

Nic Grigsby and the rest of the Wildcats’ running back corps has that potential too, they just need to unleash it. The running game will also help in red zone situations, a category in which the Wildcats rank a surprising seventh place.

Through four games, Arizona has shown that the receiving corps is a threat to go deep. Finding the run will give way to play-action options, and that means more big plays more often.

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