Grid Notes: On Wisconsin

Arizona must get over a tough game against Utah and prepare for their second ranked opponent in as many weeks. The Wildcats committed four turnovers, costing them a legitimate chance at pulling the upset. This week they get a Wisconsin team that is missing their top rusher, but has not given up a touchdown in their first two games.

MEDICAL REPORT

The Wildcats came away from the Utah game fairly healthy again. Mike Bell suffered a very deep cut just below the knee, but it should be fine and he will practice on Monday.

The Wildcats got John Abramo and Randy Sims back against Utah and will get wide receiver Biren Ealy back this week.

ENCOURAGING

Stoops claimed that he was very encouraged with the team despite the loss to Utah. He mentioned that if the Wildcats did not fumble the ball three times that they have a legitimate shot at winning the game.

What he was not sure about was the play of the defense. Although they allowed just two long drives, Stoops felt the unit played just "okay".

"We were average at best defensively," Stoops said. "We are capable of playing better."

Stoops pointed out that the coverages broke down a little bit and that the defensive line got out of their gaps just a little bit.

FUMBLEITIS

Stoops did not pull punches when he discussed Mike Bell's two fumbles.

"It's frustrating, but we've got to get him back," Stoops said. "He's a great players. I'm sure Mike will be back."

Stoops and Mike Canales indicated that extra attention will be spent practicing ball security. Canales noted after the game that at least five minutes every day is devoted to ball protection drills. Stoops said they will make sure Bell works on holding the ball closer to his body and not swing it as he tries to make plays.

KEEPING COOL

The game time temperature as been predicted to be around 96 degrees. Last Saturday it was 99 at 1:00, the same time as kickoff.

Stoops feels that although the Wildcats live in the heat, they don't have a huge advantage because they rarely practice and have not played in the middle of the day. One advantage they do have is their affiliation with Nike. Arizona is one of five or so teams that have the Nike cooling vest at their disposal. The vests are worn in the place of an undershirt and can be plugged in so that cool air is pumped in, cooling off the player.

Approximately 15 players wore the vests against Utah and most of the team will be outfitted with them on Saturday.

TOUGH ‘D'

The Badgers are the only team in the nation who has played multiple games that has not surrendered a touchdown. They have given up just three field goals in two games.

CONNECTIONS

Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez and Mike Stoops go way back. Alvarez was the linebackers coach at Iowa when Stoops was a defensive back for the Hawkeyes. In fact, Alvarez was Stoops' lead recruiter.

Wisconsin tight ends coach Rob Ianello was a coach for the Wildcats. He served as recruiting coordinator and wide receivers coach for both Dick Tomey and John Mackovic.

Badger assistant Brett Bielema played at Iowa and was a coach at Kansas State. He was rumored to be a candidate for one of the vacant Wildcat assistant spots last December.

THE SERIES

Wisconsin won the lone meeting in 2002 31-10. The Badgers dominated the game, allowing just one long run to Clarence Farmer.

The Badgers are 7-1-1 in their last nine games against the Pac-10, but are 15-21-1 all time against the conference.

The Badgers are 1-0 at Arizona Stadium. They won the 1996 Copper Bowl against Utah.

DEPTH

Stoops indicated that the team needed to improve the team's depth, especially along the defensive line. The Cats went a bit deeper than they did against NAU, but the starters still played a high percentage of the snaps.

Stoops indicated that there were no plans to use Nic Costa any more, but that they wouldn't hesitate to run plays for him if the situation called for his skills.

HARD WORK PAYS OFF

Stoops indicated that walk-on wide out and punt returner Ryan Eidson would be rewarded with a scholarship next year.


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