By Eric Wein
Arizona Daily Wildcat
When the Pac-10 race is put under a magnifying glass, one team is usually forgotten.
One team is swept underneath the rug, lost in thoughts of the conference race.
That team is lowly Oregon State. And even though the Beavers have never finished at the top of the conference, they can put a damper on any Pacific 10 Conference team's destiny.
If the No. 6 Wildcats (3-0 overall, 1-0 in conference play) are to have any hope for a successful season and a shot at a Pac-10 champion-ship, taking care of Oregon State at Arizona Stadium tomorrow night at 7:07 is a must.
"We're playing a tough, physical football team," UA coach Dick Tomey said. "They were really playing well at the end of last year."
Despite a 4-7 record, the Beavers lost to UCLA, Stanford and Washington by a combined total of 14 points and then beat Oregon to close out last season.
That finish translated into high hopes this year.
"There's been a lot of additional pressure placed on this team that they've never had to deal with before," Oregon State coach Jerry Pettibone said. "We've been uptight and afraid to make a mistake because of the pressure to win."
If this season is any indication, the Beavers (1-2, 0-1) could again end up in the cellar. But that doesn't mean they can't cause problems. A damper on the Wildcats' 1992 season was a 14-14 tie in Corvallis, Ore., giving Arizona half a loss in the conference standings. The Wildcats revisited the state last year to come away with a 33-0 blowout.
"We've learned our lesson," linebacker Charlie Camp said. "We made a commitment never to look past anybody."
The Wildcats will have to adjust to an unconventional attack coming at them on both sides of the ball.
On offense, the Beavers feature a wishbone style which usually sees the quarterback running parallel to the line of scrimmage and then carrying or pitching the ball to a running back. But once in a while, they may look to throw deep as a surprise.
"It's an offense that is deep-play oriented," Camp said. "They might beat you inside with the fullback but they want a big run or a big pass eventually."
To counter, the UA defense has focused on being more disciplined, with each player assigned to take out a man rather than just looking to make the tackle.
The Beaver defense lines up looking to blitz, sending linebackers through different gaps in the line. That creates a concern for the UA line as the linemen have to create hypothetical assignments depending on which players blitz.
"You have to know who to pick up," right guard Warner Smith said. "Everyone talks about their wishbone attack,
how it's so different, but their defense is different as well. It is a challenge."
The Beavers had a relaxing bye weekend.
"They're healthy and highly motivated," Tomey said. "We're very concerned about that and we'll have to do a doubly good job to counteract them."
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