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Football team disappointing

By Nathan Sabo
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
November 29, 1999
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To the editor,

Friends, countrymen, Wildcat fans, lend me your ears. This has been another disappointing season for the Wildcat football program. Every time we fans think UA football has finally reached the big time we are painfully reminded Arizona is not a top-notch football program. There are many reasons why Arizona has not reached the top in college football, and most of those reasons can be traced to the man who has gotten the program so close to prominence, Coach Dick Tomey. Problems with recruiting and a lack of attention to detail have been the downfall of the Tomey regime.

The current UA football team does not have a defensive starter who weighs more than the starting tight end. Although Tomey has had success with undersized, overachieving players, in order to compete year in and year out a program must be able to recruit players with size and quickness. Tomey continues to search out 240 (pound) defensive lineman and 220 pound linebackers who get run over by big-time programs with big-time players (see Penn State).

Also, no one understood the importance of Chris McAllister last year, but the current UA secondary is inexcusable. How can any big time wannabe be so inept at such a key position as cornerback? Tomey also fails to keep the limited amount of local talent at home (see Brian Poli-Dixon, Mike Saffer, etc.). Imagine UA receiving tandem of Sabino alum Poli-Dixon and Dennis Northcutt.

The lack of attention to detail is more glaring this year than ever.

Rather than games being decided by Smith, Jenkins, Canidate and Northcutt; games have been decided by penalties, missed field goals, and poor tackling, which can only be attributed to poor coaching. The penalties demonstrate a lack of discipline, which is inexcusable at any top-notch athletic program.

The decision to stay with a kicker who couldn't make a field goal to save his life, put even more pressure on an offense that is already burdened with carrying the load of an inept defense. The most glaring coaching error this year was the lack of sufficient contact drills at Camp Cochise. The veterans couldn't remember less contact since pee wee flag football days.

When Arizona got to Happy Valley to face the Nittany Lions we looked like a team that thought it was two-hand touch, as Penn State scored at will against our undersized, ill-prepared defense.

All of the blame doesn't rest with Dick Tomey. Tomey is not a big-time, big-name coach, never has been, never will be. Until the school brings in a big time coach with a big name and reputation (see Terry Bowden), the program will never move past second-tier status. However the administration has now handcuffed itself by signing an average coach to a huge five-year deal. The only way to let the administration know we, the fans, are unhappy is to leave those seats in Arizona Stadium empty next year. So on Saturdays next fall, cheer your Cats on at home or at a bar, but don't renew those season passes. Until the UA brings in a top-notch coach, we will be stuck with mediocrity.

Nathan Sabo

Political science junior

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