By Eric Wein
Arizona Daily Wildcat
The normal sound of shoulder pads smacking together could barely be heard during the Wildcats' practice this week.
Instead, a constant stream of a crowd's roar came out of three large speakers that were set up in a corner of the Arizona football team's practice field.
There would be the reprieve of an occasional pause but then the irritating sound would continue, a nagging sound that filters into your brain quickly.
The ruckus the No. 14 Wildcats (4-1, 2-0 in the Pacific 10 Conference) were preparing for will be that much more intense when they enter Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash., tomorrow to take on No. 20 Washington State (4-1, 2-0) at 3:30 p.m.
"This game is going to have a lot of excitement attached to it in terms of environment," UA coach Dick Tomey said. "It's the kind of environment that brings both teams to the highest level."
A capacity crowd is expected to be jeering the Wildcats when the two teams take the field.
Tomey said his team must be ready for that.
"I promise you it's a huge challenge for us," Tomey said. "We have to be a different breed of cat than we've been."
This game, which is most likely the big
gest of the young Pac-10 season, pits two teams struggling to take hold of the conference.
Besides Cal, the Wildcats and the Cougars are the only teams that have gone undefeated in the conference, and thus have an edge in what appears will shape up to be a surprising conference race.
"They're clearly playing the best of anyone in our conference," Tomey said of the Cougars. "We're certainly not. I'll promise you that."
After stumbling against Colorado State last Saturday, the UA defense, ranked fifth in the country, wants to show up the doubters that have surfaced in the past week.
The Desert Swarm name was dragged through the mud after Arizona allowed 185 rushing yards to Oregon State and 251 total yards to Colorado State.
For those thinking tomorrow's game matches two outstanding defenses, Tomey thinks otherwise.
"One defense is a great defense," Tomey said. "One in past years has been and at the present time has not. We don't do things at all that resemble great defenses."
Washington State's Palouse Posse, statistically the No. 1 defense in the nation, has given up just two touchdowns in five games.
"We're smash-mouthing pretty good," Washington State coach Mike Price said. "We just let the defense run around and have fun."
Arizona has a severely tough task ahead of it. Leading UA receiver Richard Dice has been plagued by a hip injury so the Wildcats may resort to Ontiwaun Carter carrying most of the rushing load and possibly some short route receiving.
In its past two games, Arizona's troubles came with scrambling quarterbacks, a problem which Davis may present.
"I see the same type of problem," UA linebacker Charlie Camp said. "We have to come out and contain that guy and put pressure on him. We have to make him throw the ball when he doesn't want to."
The unbeaten season being gone, Arizona needs to realize the rest of the Pac-10 season begins tomorrow with the Cougars.
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