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Football: Cats chasing third consecutive victory against Golden Bears

CHRIS CODUTOArizona Daily Wildcat
Quarterback Nic Costa breaks through the UCLA defense on a 43-yard run during Arizona's 24-21 loss to the Bruins on October 11.
By Shane Bacon
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, October 24, 2003

Hankwitz hoping for first win at UA helm tomorrow

Wildcat football will be heading to Berkeley this weekend to take on the only team it has beaten in the last two seasons of Pacific 10 Conference play.

Arizona's loss two weeks ago to UCLA was a heartbreaker - a defeat that interim head coach Mike Hankwitz called the worst in his 33-year career. But it also sparked some excitement in the locker room.

The main spark lies in the heart of Arizona's top running backs, senior Clarence Farmer and red-shirt sophomore Mike Bell, who combined for 216 yards on 33 carries in front of a big Family Weekend crowd on Oct. 11.

Running backs coach Jay Boulware said that even though he was proud of Farmer's breakout performance, the team still didn't notch a win - something the Wildcats need badly to stop the bleeding that began at the start of September.

"(He) can't do the same thing (he did against UCLA) because we didn't get the 'W'," Boulware said. "I'm looking for more downhill runs (and) I want him to run harder than he did against UCLA. I thought he made a lot of improvements but there is still room for a great deal of improvement."

Hankwitz credits Farmer's 122 yards to the fact that he practiced so hard the week before - something the head coach emphasizes to his players.

"We're going to play both (Farmer and Bell)," Hankwitz said. "We're going with the guys that are playing the best and running the hardest. (Clarence) had his best week at practice a week ago, and that's why I think he played so well."

CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Senior half back Clarence Farmer breaks away from a UCLA defender during the Wildcat's 24-21 loss on October 11.

Arizona's entire offense was impressive at times against the Bruins, and Hankwitz said he will continue to switch freshman quarterback Kris Heavner and sophomore quarterback Nic Costa in and out as he sees fit.

"We're still going to play them in a series in both halves like last week," Hankwitz said. "If (Costa) is doing well and we think he will help us win, then we will play him more, like last week."

Though senior wide receiver Lance Relford has been dealing with an injury this week, Hankwitz believes he could start on Sunday following solid practices Wednesday and yesterday.

"We're finally back healthy (and) Lance is the only one that couldn't do as much (at) practice, but he practiced (yesterday) and he's gotten better every day," Hankwitz said.

The Wildcats will need their best stuff offensively to test a Cal team that upset then-No. 3 Southern California and took UCLA down to the wire before being snuffed out by the Bruins.

Hankwitz and company will be looking for their first Pac-10 win since they upset the Golden Bears in Berkeley last season, 51-42, following a tumultuous week that contributed to the fall of ex-head coach John Mackovic.

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