Stoops realizes need to improve

Arizona head coach Mike Stoops met with the media Monday to discuss Stanford and the upcoming game against Stanford. Read on to see what he thought of how his team played, what it needs to do to improve, and more.

Arizona head coach Mike Stoops was just as disappointed on Monday as he was after the Stanford game and made no attempt to hide that disappointment in his weekly press conference.

"Too many missed scoring opportunities," Stoops said of Saturday's loss. "When you play Stanford you have got to be able to score some points. Inconsistencies come up throughout the course of the game and that comes from experience.

"I think in critical parts of our team some of our lack of maturity kind of shows through when you play a team consistent as Stanford, Oklahoma State, and certainly Oregon. The lack of consistency creeps up in all phases of our team right now."

One of the most frustrating aspects of Saturday's loss was the kicking game, as it failed Arizona at two crucial moments.

"The kicking game needs to improve," Stoops said. "We need more consistency from a certain range in our field goals to be able to get points and that hurts. It is demoralizing and again when you have a team that we are reeling a little bit, those are important plays when we are playing top level competition.

"We are going to give Alex (Zendejas) his job back and see what he does this week. There wasn't a huge difference in camp, but Jaime (Salazar) was a little more consistent in camp but has not kicked as well as we would have liked from a certain range in and those are all very makeable kicks."

As Arizona prepares for Oregon this week, it knows that it will be facing its third top ten opponent in as many weeks.

"We are playing very steep competition," Stoops said. "These are great challenges for us. Our players are handling it well. These games need to make us better in September and make us better in November. Hopefully that is the case, only time will tell. One week is over and you go to the next week.

"We are not going to get thrown off by what our goal is. Our players never have and we are stronger than that. We understand who we are playing. We are not losing to Joe Schmos from wherever. We don't play those type of teams. We never have and we wish it would have been more competitive. We are our own worst enemies when it comes to that."

In addition, the team has been hurt by injuries, as numerous key players have been forced to watch from the sidelines.

"A lot of key players are sitting on the sidelines with me," Stoops said. "I can't control that, that is something way beyond me. The players that are coming in are learning. It is going to improve the team in the long run, that is how I look at it."

Speaking of those hurt players, Stoops believes that Adam Hall could be close to returning, with the others not far behind.

"They are doing more each week," he said. "They are doing 7 on 7 and not tackling live but they are going. They will be a couple weeks away but I am confident they will be back. I would say Adam (Hall) would probably be the quickest, maybe for Oregon State would be a good estimation. I would say the other guys would be after the bye week.

"It all depends on them. I think it depends on how good they feel. If they have to play a game or two where they don't feel comfortable, I don't want to put anyone in an uncomfortable situation where they don't feel comfortable playing or they don't feel 100 percent."

There is a chance that hall could actually be back in a few weeks, as all that is left for him to do is prove he can hit and be hit.

"He does everything but live tackling," Stoops said. "Not much longer. He is going to progress into a live situation here before long. I am not putting USC out of the question next week, so we will see."

Whether Hall comes back in a week is somewhat irrelevant in the sense that Arizona is going to need to improve regardless. For Stoops, he believes this may start with the overall mindset of the team.

"A lot of these guys have been through some of the tougher times," Stoops said. "Not a lot of these young guys understand where we came from. We know what it's like to not be very good and certainly don't ever want to go back there.

"A lot of these guys came in through the first, second, third bowl games that are playing and don't really understand where we have all been. That is important. That is maturity, toughness, and something that our younger players need to embrace and understand."


  • Stoops was not too negative about the offensive line, as he feels it is improving on a game-to-game basis.

    "Our offensive line is coming together," he said. "There is some good parts to it. Obviously this team (Stanford) got more pressure than we had seen in the past, but overall I thought you started to see some signs of our run game. Both backs ran extremely well, those are very talented runners, we just have to keep giving them more opportunities and block better at the point of attack."

  • Stoops, and other Arizona players, feel that Oregon may actually be easier to prepare for than Stanford.

    "For us we are used to it because of the way our offense does it," Stoops said of Oregon's pace. "We can get a good picture of that in practice because we do a lot. Ours is more throwing, theirs is more running; we just make our offense run a lot of zones and things like that."

  • Mohammed Usman missed the Stanford game due to a sprained ankle. Stoops gave no timetable on his return, but it did not seem like a major deal.

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