Getting back to basics during the bye

A couple of times a month I get to sit in on the round table discussion on KMSB's ‘Sports Force'. One of the benefits is the opportunity to talk to former UA coach Larry Smith. He shed some light on the state of the team and the bye week.

What I found most interesting was his take on the offensive line. Smith feels that the line has a lot of talent and potential, but that they are just too young. He feels that no matter how good a lineman is, he needs at least two, and usually three years to develop. His feeling is that the current crop of players can become very good, but need more time to improve.

He also mentioned that getting quality offensive linemen to Arizona was the toughest recruiting challenge.

"It was the opposite at USC," Smith said. "There I had to turn them away."

As for the bye week, Smith feels it is coming at the right time. Not only can the team get healthier, but they can take some time to get back to fundamentals, especially the offensive linemen.

"I'd have them work on the basics," Smith said. "I'd have them work in the chutes and on the boards."

If this was Smith's team he'd have them spend the entire week on basics and not worrying about Washington State. That can wait until next week, when the team can go back to game planning and implementing things specifically for the Cougars.

Confidence is another problem for this team. The coach said that was never more apparent than when the Wildcats failed to score in the second quarter against Oregon State.

We concluded our brief chat talking about the running game. He agrees with coach Stoops that the team must run the ball. What he does not believe is that massive changes can be made during the season. It is his belief that the running game must be implemented in the spring, expanded upon in the preseason and continuously worked on during the season.

*The Wildcats will have Monday and Tuesday off from practice. Many of the coaches will be out on the road recruiting. They will resume practice on Wednesday.

*Athletic Director Jim Livengood met with reporters on Monday to give Mike Stoops a vote of confidence.

Wildcat Authority Top Stories