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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Stoops pleased with effort

Gordon Bates/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

UA Wildcats loss to OSU Beavers at Arizona Stadium on Saturday, Oct 9.
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates/ Arizona Daily Wildcat UA Wildcats loss to OSU Beavers at Arizona Stadium on Saturday, Oct 9.

It would be easy to picture Arizona head coach Mike Stoops, never one to hide his emotions and displeasure on the sideline, walking into his weekly Monday press conference with steam still spewing from his neck.

That wasn’t the case yesterday. While Stoops admitted he was disappointed with the loss, he didn’t think his team played as poorly as some have made it out to be.

“”Every time we’d close the gap to three they’d answer,”” Stoops said. “”Just getting ahead was tough for us. I thought our kids played hard. I thought offensively a couple third downs we busted early in the game and that really got us behind. In the second half we moved the ball very well.””

While the offense’s 20-point second half was good enough to make up for its ineffective first half, the defense struggled from start to finish.

“”I thought the game got down to stops and, realistically, they were 10-14 on third down and that was the story of the game,”” Stoops said. “”I thought their quarterback did a great job throwing the ball on time, and when they needed to, they found the holes in our defense. When we weren’t in the right spot he hit the plays and when we did cover them, he’d pull it down and run.””

Leading the way for Oregon State was quarterback Ryan Katz, whose performance can’t be understated. In just his fifth game as a starter, Katz threw for 393 yards on 30-42 passing with two touchdowns as well as a rushing touchdown.

“”It was uncanny how he was able to get the ball where he needed to go and he did it very effectively and very well,”” Stoops said of Katz.

The Wildcats have split their first two Pacific 10 Conference games and the total point differential is just three. Stoops said that is indicative of how it will be for the rest of the season.

“”Execution just needs to be a little bit better, they played really smart and just out-executed us,”” Stoops said. “”We just didn’t come up with the stops defensively that you need to win close games. I think that’s what it will come down to (in the Pac-10), it’s going to come down to defense and being able to play consistently and come up with third down plays to win. That’s where the games are won and lost.

Secondary blues

Stoops may have downplayed the struggles of the secondary against Oregon State, but Saturday’s loss was evidence that the defense has work to do when it comes to pass coverage.

“”The secondary is everybody,”” Stoops said. “”I thought our pressure was good, I thought our underneath coverage needs to be better, I thought we busted some assignments. Some of it is underneath, some of it is execution.””

Stoops said the precision and arm strength of Katz made the issues of the secondary worse than they actually are. While that may be partially true, the defensive backs were picked apart in both man and zone coverages.

“”Some of it is technical, obviously, some of it’s mental and some of it’s schematic,”” Stoops said. “”All of it plays into some of our faults on Saturday night.””

Cornerback Trevin Wade, a preseason All-Pac-10 and All-American selection, was burned badly by Beaver wide receiver James Rodgers on the first play of the game for a touchdown. Wade bit on Rodgers’ slant fake and couldn’t whip his hips around fast enough to recover. Stoops said that that may have been because of an injury and Rodgers’ speed.

“”He played good, he had the bad play that was coming off a thigh injury on the play before and just really got stuck in a bad position and made a bad move on the football,”” Stoops said of Wade. “”You make a bad move against (Oregon State) and they’ve got some receivers that can run as well as anybody.””

Wade, who injured his thigh on the third play of the game, is listed as day-to-day. He missed practice on Monday and Stoops is unsure what his status will be for the Washington State game this Saturday.

Stoops is also unsure if Wade should have continued playing on Saturday.

“”That’s his choice. If he felt like he can go and he should be out there, and if you can’t go, you can’t go,”” Stoops said. “”Don’t go out there and be in a position where you can’t play and execute. Only he knows what he’s capable of doing, I can’t read his mind.””

If Wade is unable to play against the Cougars, Stoops said that freshmen Shaquille Richardson or Jonathan McKnight will step in at cornerback.

 

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