Tidbits 09/19

Of course football is the dominant topic of discussion for the tidbits this week. Nothing like a bad loss or a good win to hijack the conversation.

I have talked to a number of people who think the season is completely lost. While things are certainly bleak, anyone who has watched this team under Mike Stoops should know they play their best when their backs are against the wall. In fact, they actually seem to play their worst when the team is thriving.

After the blowout win over UCLA in 2005, the Cats turned around and lost to a one-win Washington team. Last year a win over Stanford, was followed by a seven-point loss to Oregon State. After beating ranked Oregon 37-10 in Eugene, the Cats turned around and played uninspired in a 14-point loss to ASU. Now they follow up a 45-point outing against NAU, with an upset loss to the Lobos.

Conversely, the Cats have pulled off improbable wins in every season under Stoops. After a 49-9 thrashing against USC, the Cats upset 20th ranked ASU by a touchdown. The next season, in the midst of a five-game losing streak, the Cats beat Oregon State on the road, and then had the 52-point explosion against UCLA. Last year's three-game win streak came right after the team dropped four-of-five.

Am I saying I think the Cats will beat Cal? Nope, Cal looks awfully good, but stranger things have happened in the past few years… Mark Stoops said some very interesting things following Tuesday's practice. He pulled no punches about how upset he was after the Wildcats' loss to New Mexico. He also said Cal was the right team to play to turn things around. This is the guy who has to figure out how to cover DeSean Jackson and he is glad to play the Bears? I hope he knows something we don't… A lot of fans are down on Louis Holmes right now. The five-star recruit has yet to live up to the lofty expectations he came to Arizona with. His performance last Saturday was not good. He failed to get a sack, committed a roughing the passer penalty and had two offsides penalties that gave New Mexico first downs to keep drives alive.

I like Holmes and think he has all the ability in the world, but he needs to step it up. Not only does the team need him, but he needs to impress the NFL scouts. He is an amazing athlete but needs to show toughness and a mean streak… The opposite of Holmes is Jason Parker. Five years ago he was an unknown recruit who was looked at as much for being Marcus Smith's cousin as he was for his highlight tape. Today he is a senior leader who had two sacks against New Mexico and is the most consistent of the defensive ends… The Wildcat basketball team will not hold Midnight Madness this season and I, for one, won't miss it. The past few years have been poorly organized with ill-timed autograph sessions grinding the events to a halt. Fans want to see a slam-dunk contest and a scrimmage plus some look into the players' personality. They don't want to see half thought out games and the two-ball contest.

The best thing about last year's event was the player introduction where the songs played as they hit the floor were supposed to tie into their personalities. Seeing the ever graceful Kirk Walters and Ivan Radenovic dancing was nearly worth the price of admission.

I say take a year off, plan the event better and reintroduce it with a one-on-one battle between Brandon Jennings and Jerryd Bayless

After the BYU game I was really worried about the offense. Two weeks later I have to say I am VERY impressed with the job the offensive coaches have done. From one of the worst offensive halves of football to nearly 500 yards of total offense is very impressive. They still have a lot to do, but I am encouraged…

Willie Tuitama had the second best passing yardage night in school history and could have had almost 100 more yards if passes are not dropped. That being said, he probably had nearly 100 yards in bad decisions. As good as he played, he had a few times where his knowledge of where he was on the football field and what the down and distance was, seemed to elude him. The safety could have been avoided if he threw the ball overhand and past the line of scrimmage. He also went deep on three straight plays on the final drive. I like the idea of taking a shot on the first pass, but after that you have to start moving the chains. The Cats saved their timeouts for that dive and never went underneath. There was plenty of time to move the ball up the field.

While I am not a proponent of trying to make Earl Mitchell a feature back, he does need to see the ball more. Next time there is a third and one, give him the ball on the fullback dive. Better yet line him up at tailback behind Brandon Lopez and let the two bruise their way for three or so feet…

The Wire did not win an Emmy, and in fact was not nominated. It is not only one of the best shows on television, but one of TV's all time best dramas. I fully recommend getting season one on DVD... Andy Lopez had a couple of good weeks. He has picked up a handful of verbal commits. They are so talented that he may be sweating out August 15th, the last day pro teams can sign draftees.

Good to see Joseph Blair running the steps at McKale. A guy with the reputation of not always being the hardest worker in college, Blair has had a long, profitable career overseas because of his willingness to work and expand his game… Not only is Colin Baxter playing great, but he's becoming a real leader. Watching him get on a veteran who missed an assignment gave me hope. The team needs some mean, tough linemen who are not content with mistakes… I am not going to pretend I didn't drink in college. I won't even pretend I did not have a sip or two before turning 21. One thing I did not do was drink before important events. I was not drinking a night or two before a big test. Heck, I wouldn't even drink before a big intramural game.

That is why I have little sympathy for Tyler Lyon. Although the odds of him playing were slim, they were not impossible. The Cats had to go to their third string quarterback last year. Even worse is he was apparently involved in a disturbance at a party and was in a truck with a drunk driver. If his on-field decision making was as bad as his off-field decisions, then we know why he lost the back-up job to Kris Heavner and is in jeopardy of losing out to true freshman Bryson Beirne.

There will be plenty of time to drink in the off-season…

While many assume that the suspensions were a distraction before the UNM game, I will argue they are bigger now. Before the week few knew who C.J. Sedaris, Kyle Monson and Cole Graybill. Heck, there are probably some guys on the team who didn't know who they were. Now they are in both newspapers and on every newscast. If they weren't a distraction last Saturday, they probably are now…

Wildcat verbal commitment Trace Biskin was in town for the New Mexico game. Despite the loss, Biskin is still firmly committed to the program…

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