No. 6 Arizona prepares to limit OSU's option

By Eric Wein

Arizona Daily Wildcat

From the snap of the football, it can turn from synchronicity in the backfield to a lone runner sprinting downfield in a hurry.

The wishbone has lost its popularity since the days when Barry Switzer's Oklahoma teams ran it like crazy as his Sooners rose up through the ranks of college football. Back then, it looked like the offensive scheme of the future.

Since then, it has fizzled out mostly, only to reappear on a smaller scale around the country.

During the week before the Arizona football team's bye, instead of taking extra time to work on Stanford, the Wildcats focused on preparing against the option ─specifically Oregon State's option attack.

UA coach Dick Tomey said the off-week was important to adjust to the Beavers, whom Arizona (3-0 overall, 1-0 in the Pac-10) faces at Arizona Stadium Saturday at 7 p.m.

"It requires a substantial adjustment by everybody," Tomey said yesterday at his press conference. "You can't let yourself get lulled to sleep because they're playing the run. Somebody gets behind them and they can make a big play throwing the ball."

Last year, the Wildcats saw similar option schemes run by UTEP in their season opener, so when Oregon State came around two games later, they were ready.

"You've got to have somebody for the fullback, somebody for the quarterback and somebody for the pitchman on both sides of the formation," Oregon State coach Jerry Pettibone said from a conference call. "It takes a certain degree of aggressiveness and pursuit."

Generally, the wishbone presents a speedy quarterback and a variety of running backs in the backfield who could take a pitch or block. But the quarterback can still step back for a rare pass.

Tomey said the coverage for the cornerbacks will be one-one-one and that could cause problems if Oregon decide to make an occasional pass. The wishbone also takes off more time because there are fewer pass incompletions which stop the clock.

"The thing that concerns you is the game doesn't last as long," Tomey said. "You look up and the first quarter is almost over."

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Briefly: Arizona's No. 6 ranking in the Associated Press and USA Today/CNN coaches' polls is the highest the UA has been ranked in either since Sept. 26, 1983 when they ranked third. ...

Tedy Bruschi, who is one of 12 semifinalists for the Lombardi Award, had a sack against Stanford to extend his streak to 15 consecutive games in which he has recorded at least one sack.

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