Battle of the masterminds

By Eric Wein

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The two men are barely noticeable once their teams hit the field.

They will stroll the sidelines, often flipping a headset on or pulling players aside to give instructions.

Nonetheless, the personalities and attitudes of Stanford's Bill Walsh and Arizona's Dick Tomey overshadow the contest between Tomey's No. 8 Wildcats (2-0) and Walsh's Cardinal (1-0-1) tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. (Ch. 9).

Tomey vs. Walsh. A showdown between the programs of two men who have had a tremendous impact on their respective teams.

Walsh is the one who spoke bitterly of the Wildcats he made some sour comments about Arizona that are now indelibly printed on the pages of a recently published book.

Tomey is the direct opposite, quiet and composed when addressing such matters, making sure to only offer praise for his opponents publicly.

Walsh still carries the aura he had during his NFL days, a time when he went 102-63-1 rather than the 15-10-1 record he has in this, his second stint at Stanford.

Tomey is about the present, concentrating more on the season at hand rather than the fact that his next win will catapult him into second place behind J.F. "Pop" McKale on the all-time UA football wins list.

They have met only twice before, in two memorable matchups where Tomey's squad walked away humbly as winners.

"My hat is off to their coaching staff," the Stanford coach said. "The defensive coaching is outstanding and they're tremendous motivators. They possess intensity on their staff."

So when the teams of these two coaches meet on the field at Stanford Stadium tomorrow, they will bring the personality and attitude of their coaches.

"We're not playing Bill Walsh," Arizona free safety Tony Bouie said. "We're playing Stanford's football team."

True. And the Wildcats will try to dispose of the first of the much ballyhooed Pac-10 Heisman Trophy hopefuls they will face this season in Stanford quarterback Steve Stenstrom.

Stenstrom is tied for second on the Pac-10's career touchdown pass list and his name has floated around the top of the conference's premier quarterback list.

"He's really tough," Tomey said. "Most quarterbacks aren't that tough."

But Stenstrom isn't the whole story. Wide receivers Justin Armour and Brian Manning are proven. Sophomore running back Mike Mitchell's 157.5 yards-per-game average ranks him sixth in the nation and tops in the conference.

All in all, Walsh's offense is sound, as are his players.

"They have a more balanced offense than they've had," Tomey said. "I hope they throw every down. That's what our defense is designed to make people do."

The UA's offense has been sharp and it will need to move against an improved Cardinal defense which ranks third in the Pac-10 in rushing defense and total defense.

"I'm real concerned about that part of their team," Tomey said. "I think they're particularly determined to play well because they haven't been treated with enough respect."

Desert Swarm, or rather the UA defense, has gotten plenty of due and Walsh secretly would no doubt like to overcome it.

"They have a beautifully conceived defense," Walsh said. "We might try to utilize it in the future."

Walsh has a reason not to look forward to a game against Arizona, particularly because of the past.

1992 The Cardinal gets dumped 21-6 by Arizona after entering the game ranked eighth in the country and with the hopes Walsh would lead the team to greatness. Stanford did finish 10-3 with a bowl win over Penn State but as the book states, Walsh was so confident about winning that he had already planned a postgame celebration party.

"We had a really good game up there," Bouie said. "That was one of our best games two years ago."

1993 Stenstrom drops back with the score tied at 24 while trying to take time off the clock. UA defensive end Akil Jackson hits him and the ball hits the turf where cornerback Spencer Wray recovers it. Steve McLaughlin boots a 27-yard field goal for the Wildcats' 27-24 win.

"I don't think we'll fumble away opportunities this year," Walsh said. "We should have taken the tie against Arizona."

Both teams begin their Pac-10 schedule knowing the starting line of the Rose Bowl race begins in Palo Alto, Calif.

Barring Stanford's second tie of the year, one team will be 1-0 in the conference with the other 0-1. The loser has to come out of the game on fire to vie for the conference title.

"Recently in past years, we've been able to pull out wins against them," Bouie said. "We have to watch out, that might make them hungrier."

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