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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    D suddenly not ol’ reliable

    Arizona linebacker Ronnie Palmer tackles New Mexico running back Rodney Ferguson in Saturdays 29-27 loss at Arizona Stadium. The Wildcats are working on defensive consistency, an unexpected problem in 2007.
    Arizona linebacker Ronnie Palmer tackles New Mexico running back Rodney Ferguson in Saturday’s 29-27 loss at Arizona Stadium. The Wildcats are working on defensive consistency, an unexpected problem in 2007.

    Entering the 2007 football season, Arizona’s defense was supposed to be the unit to rely on, and the offense was the one surrounded by question marks.

    Just three weeks into the season, the Wildcats sit at 1-2, and the tables have completely turned – the offense has proven to be the reliable entity, while the defense continues to struggle.

    After the Wildcats’ 29-27 loss to New Mexico on Saturday, when the defense yielded 421 yards, Arizona is searching for answers.

    The squad has not played as well defensively this year as it did last year, which is “”somewhat perplexing,”” said UA head coach Mike Stoops.

    “”That’s probably the biggest aspect that we need to get right because we are going to move the football

    It’s all about the team, and no matter what I do it’s all about whether the team wins or we lose.
    – Terrell Turner,sophomore receiver

    and score points,”” Stoops said of the defense. “”Our run defense has been steady, but our pass defense has not quite been what it needs to be, and that is something we will continue to work on.””

    It was thought that if the Wildcats could boost their production to 27 points per game, the defense would be stingy enough to make that total sufficient. That is proving to be false.

    Though Arizona has almost reached the offensive benchmark, scoring 26.3 points per game, the UA defense hasn’t held up its end of the bargain. After allowing only 18.6 points per game against last year’s

    Pacific 10 Conference opponents, the Wildcats’ total has gone up to 24.3 points per game this season, and they have yet to reach conference play.

    “”Our mistakes have shown, and it definitely showed in the worst way on Saturday as far as our focus and our discipline,”” said linebacker Ronnie Palmer. “”We know how much talent we have on defense, and coming into Pac-10 (play) we definitely need to make a big turnaround and make a big statement this week.””

    Tedford likes Tuitama’s ability

    Coming out of St. Mary’s High School in Northern California, quarterback Willie Tuitama’s was pursued by California and at one point made the team his first choice.

    Though the Golden Bears eventually offered him a scholarship, Tuitama said the team waited too long to send an offer his way – by that time, he had already made up his mind to play his college ball in Tucson.

    But California head coach Jeff Tedford hasn’t forgotten about him.

    “”Willie does a really good job of throwing the ball, and he is a threat,”” Tedford said. “”(Tuitama) is a very good player. He has as good of arm as there is in the conference. He is a very tough guy in the pocket, great poise, and I am very impressed with him.””

    After an injury-plagued season a year ago, Tuitama has responded.

    Tuitama’s nine touchdown tosses in this year’s first three games have already surpassed his 10-game total from last year, when he threw seven.

    “”For the most part we are doing well moving the ball,”” Tuitama said. “”I definitely feel like I am learning week by week. I am going back and watching the film, and it is helping me. For the most part I feel like I am getting a lot more comfortable with the offense, and it is making a lot of this easier on us.””

    Turner assumes larger role

    Last season Terrell Turner had one reception for seven yards. One year later, his workload has gone up significantly.

    With the implementation of the new spread offense – a scheme that heavily incorporates all of its receivers – the sophomore receiver has been much more involved in Arizona’s offensive plans.

    Thus far this season, Turner has made his mark. The sophomore has played in all three games, hauling in 17 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns (63.3 yards per game).

    Though Turner has posted some impressive numbers given his lack of production in 2006, he said he doesn’t take satisfaction in his success because the team has been losing.

    “”It’s all about the team, and no matter what I do it’s all about whether the team wins or we lose,”” Turner said.

    It does help his self-assurance, however.

    “”It gives me confidence to go out and play harder and work on my execution as an individual, but, overall, I need to worry about the team goals,”” he said.

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