The Bad News Cats

Where's Coach Buttermaker when you need him? Where's a feisty Tanner Boyle getting in the faces of teammates to inspire better play? Where's the savior Kelly Leak hiding out these days? Heck, for that matter, does anyone know where we can find the strong armed Amanda Whurlitzer? We just might need her to play quarterback the rest of the season.

The sad state of affairs at the University of Arizona continues. We are a team looking for an identity; a team looking for a few good men to step up and play football the way it was meant to be played.

Football, more than any other major sport, is about execution and Arizona is simply not executing in games. A good team who executes well will thoroughly dominate a team of equal caliber who does not execute at all. Arizona has eight guys doing one thing and three doing something entirely different. With such nonconformity it's no surprise that Arizona's quarterback, Willie Tuitama, spent the fourth quarter in a nearby hospital suffering from his second major concussion of the season.

Arizona's 27-7 loss to UCLA Saturday night is further evidence of downright bad execution. By no means is UCLA more talented than Arizona. They do have more depth, and it showed, but man for man, the Wildcats match up well with the Bruins. The difference is that the Bruins skillfully executed their plays and the Wildcats did not.

Poor coaching decisions throughout the game, a lack of quantifiable halftime adjustments, lousy offensive line play, timing, fumbled snaps, a woeful running game, and an inability of the defense to make any big plays once again plagued the Wildcats.

Oh, and did I mention the penalties. Trailing 14-7 with less than a minute to go in the first half, Arizona' Peter Graniello was whistled for a personal foul that negated a large gain to midfield. Instead of continuing to march toward a potential score, the penalty pushed Arizona back to its own 25 yard line and basically ended the drive.

In the third quarter, trailing 17-7, two defensive penalties on the Wildcats equated to 30 yards which enabled a struggling Bruins offense to drive the ball far enough downfield for their second field goal of the half. Adrian McCovy was called for a late hit and Antoine Cason was called for pass interference.

Probably the most nonsensical play of the game came immediately after the Wildcats tied the score at 7-7. The Wildcats attempted an onside kick.

"It was a bad choice to do the onside kick, but we wanted to try to gain momentum," Mike Stoops said.

What momentum was Stoops referring to? Arizona had just tied the game. For a team that has been losing the field position battle all season, why would you risk giving the ball to an opponent inside your own 50 yard line when you have a chance to kick off and force them to drive 80 yards? In a game that was billed to be a defensive struggle, sacrificing field position like that just does not seem like a wise decision.

In the end, it was the same old, same old for Arizona. Another loss in what's becoming a lost season. After games like this, Buttermaker would take the boys out for pizza and beer. After watching a game like yesterday afternoon's, a beer just won't cut it anymore.

Arizona (2-4, 0-3 Pac-10) will play at winless Stanford this week. UCLA (4-1, 2-1 Pac-10) will square off against an Oregon team coming off a blowout loss to California. For Arizona, it's back to the drawing board in search of some answers. For UCLA, a Pac-10 title is still attainable.

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