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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “‘Cats, Dogs at crossing”

    When the Arizona football team looks at tomorrow’s opponent, it is practically gazing into the mirror.

    The Wildcats and Washington Huskies find themselves in very similar situations. Both teams entered the season with high expectations but have fallen considerably short, as a string of losses has landed both in the cellar of the Pacific 10 Conference.

    Arizona seeks to break that reflection when it meets Washington at noon tomorrow in Seattle.

    “”We know that we are in a similar situation as (Washington), but that doesn’t really matter to us,”” said defensive end Jason Parker. “”They are just another team. They are human just like we are human.””

    If the Wildcats (2-6, 1-4 Pac-10) want to capitalize on one of the few opportunities to salvage their season still remaining, they will have to deal with a dimension they have yet to bottle this season: a mobile quarterback.

    And it always seems to lead back to Washington (2-5, 0-4).

    In last year’s loss to the Huskies, the Wildcats found themselves vulnerable to Washington’s running quarterback – then-redshirt senior Isaiah Stanback – who rushed for 96 yards.

    This year, they meet another signal-caller who isn’t afraid to pull the ball down and run: sophomore sensation Jake Locker. Locker leads Washington in rushing with 537 yards and six touchdowns.

    But UA head coach Mike Stoops said he feels his defense – which ranks No. 31 nationally in rush defense (117 yards allowed per game) – is prepared to take on the multi-dimensional athlete, whether Locker plans to attack through the air or on the ground.

    “”I think we understand how to defend (a mobile quarterback),”” Stoops said. “”It will be a challenge like all dual-threat quarterbacks are.””

    Arizona is 1-1 in 2007 against teams with quarterbacks adept on their feet. Against NAU and New Mexico, the Wildcats held Lance Kreisien and Donovan Porterie, respectively, to a total of negative-20 yards on 15 carries.

    Porterie, however, rebounded to throw for 327 yards and three touchdowns, and the Lobos eked out a 29-27 win in Tucson on Sept. 15.

    If the Wildcats want to get back into to the win column, they likely need an offensive performance unlike the efforts they have put forth the past three weeks.

    Though Arizona managed three 80-plus-yard drives in last weekend’s loss to Stanford, the Wildcats scored only 20 points.

    After demonstrating a seeming grip on its new spread offense earlier in the season, Arizona has revealed that implementing Sonny Dykes’ new scheme isn’t so easy.

    Dykes said the Wildcats’ adjustment process isn’t out of the ordinary.

    “”When I was at Texas Tech, it took us a few years before we really started executing at the level that we needed to,”” Dykes said. “”It is always a work in progress, and you are always trying to improve.””

    With only four games remaining on the schedule, Stoops said plenty of opportunity remains for his team.

    Though a bowl berth remains unlikely and a winning season is out of reach, the Wildcats still have life.

    “”I still think this team is capable of more in a very tough conference, and we will be tested in these last four games of the season against some excellent football teams,”” Stoops said. “”We have shown we can play with anybody. It is winning that’s really where we fall short.””

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