By Charles Renning
CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
UA junior tailback Mike Bell picks up a few of his 134 yards rushing Saturday against UCLA at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Despite the 37-17 loss to the Bruins, UA head coach Mike Stoops was impressed with his team's running back trio of Bell, junior Gilbert Harris and freshman Chris Henry.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Cats can't cash in chances
In dropping their fourth straight game, the Wildcats were their own worst enemy in the team's 37-17 loss at UCLA this weekend, head coach Mike Stoops said.
Arizona had a punt blocked for a safety, turned the ball over once, was just three of 10 on third down and dropped several passes in its second Pacific 10 Conference loss.
"They caught all of their opportunities. We obviously dropped all of our opportunities and that seems to be how the season is going," Stoops said.
Arizona also had trouble keeping the yellow flags off the Rose Bowl turf.
The Wildcats were penalized nine times for 83 yards against the Bruins, several of which came in crucial situations.
"We're just not good enough to overcome," Stoops said. "It really frustrates you, but that's just the way it is."
The trip to Los Angeles was the first road trip of the Stoops Era, but the first-year head coach said that being on the road had nothing to do with the mistakes his team made. He said the errors were from not playing smart.
The team had a few bright spots in the game, like rushing for over 250 yards and holding two of the top three backs in the Pac-10 to less than 100 yards, but the Wildcats are still looking for that win to boost their confidence.
"We averaged over six yards a carry. Those are numbers you should win with or be in the ball game," Stoops said. "To lose by 20 points is somewhat frustrating."
Even after dropping their fourth consecutive game, Stoops said the team remains positive and all of the players are excited about the progress being made. He added that the wins would come if the players continued to work hard on a daily basis.
"We have to come out with a positive attitude," said junior linebacker Randy Sims. "We're going to get there. We've got to put those (losses) behind us."
Sophomore defensive tackle Paul Philipp was the only significant injury for the Wildcats' weekend contest and his status is questionable for this week's game at Oregon.
"We hope to get him back sometime this week, but we'll see how it progresses," Stoops said.
Philipp watched the second half of the game against UCLA from the sideline in street clothes with his arm in a sling due to a shoulder injury.
The injured Philipp added to an already depleted Arizona defensive line. The Wildcats lost freshman Yaniv Barnett earlier in the week because of a suspension because of a violation of team rules. Johnathon Turner also didn't make the trip to LA because of a dislocated elbow.
Redshirt freshman Lionel Dotson was forced into action against the Bruins and played well, according to Stoops.
"It's a good learning experience, he'll get better," he said.
Cats prepare for noisy setting at Oregon
There might be an extra roar coming from the Jimenez Practice Field this week, and no, Stoops hasn't opened practices to the public yet.
The Wildcats will be preparing for their trip to Autzen Stadium, one of the louder venues in the Pac-10.
"I've heard it's a very loud place to play," Stoops said.
Stoops has never played or coached in the 54,000 seat stadium, but expects the Oregon faithful to be vocal.
He said Monday and Tuesday the team would put in the game plan and by Wednesday and Thursday would add artificial crowd noise to the practices to simulate the possible noise in Eugene, Ore. this weekend.
Freshman running-back Chris Henry said he took an unofficial visit to Oregon while he was going through the recruiting process and thought Autzen was loud, but nothing that would hamper the Wildcats' ability to communicate.
"When the crowd is loud for me it gets me even more pumped up," Henry said.
Cats can't convert 3rd down attempts
With between three and seven yards to go on third down, the Wildcats were 0 for 5 in converting a first down try against UCLA.
"Turnovers and third down conversions are usually where the game is won and lost," he said.
Stoops said it was a combination of both the play calling on the coaches part and the execution of players in these crucial situations.
"That is something that always hurts you. It's a big part of getting on the field and continuing drives," he said.
"I don't think it's a worry, but its more a self realization that we can't count on anyone but ourselves," said Henry. "In the end it's all up to us to execute."