Forget stats. Today’s kickoff between Arizona and Colorado is all about heart and commitment. More importantly, today’s game between two unranked opponents is about nothing more than strapping on chin straps and beating the man in front of you. Last weekend at UCLA, Arizona was beaten as a team because individual matchups were lost at nearly every position on nearly every play. The Wildcats whiffed on open field tackles, Arizona receivers lost the battle in getting off the line of scrimmage cleanly and working open down the field. Up front, the Wildcats were pushed around on both sides of the ball, failing to win the point of attack.
Arizona center Kyle Quinn will look to take out last week's frustrations against the Colorado Buffaloes this afternoon.
Against Colorado, the Wildcats need to worry less about end results and instead focus on achieving all the little positive steps that serve to produce positive results.
The loss of fifth-year senior quarterback Matt Scott is noteworthy. Scott, who is listed as doubtful after receiving a concussion against the Bruins, has been able to mask several of Arizona’s mistakes in previous games. Without Scott, silly things like penalties, dropped passes and missed tackles have the potential of being overly magnified at Arizona Stadium this afternoon. Hence, the importance of excelling at the fundamentals becomes a critical aspect in today’s game.
The Buffaloes are in much worse shape than Arizona. However, these same Buffaloes put a whooping on the Wildcats last season at Folsom Field. Payback for Arizona will serve as a nice motivational factor. Still, if Arizona needs motivation all they have to do is watch last weekend’s game film, or remember how easily UCLA ran over and through Arizona for 60 minutes.
Arizona is better than Colorado. The Wildcats have played the better schedule and been challenged at the highest level. Seven days ago Arizona was still in the Rose Bowl conversation. Today, the Wildcats have the opportunity to put those grandiose distractions aside and focus on nothing more than beating their opponent one play at a time.
Following the UCLA loss, center Kyle Quinn said the Wildcats never felt they were out of the UCLA game early on because they’re taught to approach each and every play as the most important play. Against Colorado that philosophy will indeed be put to the test. With or without Scott at the helm, passing the test by getting back to executing the basics will produce a victory. However, if the same follies befuddle the Wildcats on a sun-drenched field Saturday, Arizona could be entering the head-scratching phase in year one of the Rich Rodriguez era.
I was in attendance for last year’s humbling loss to Colorado, as well as last weekend’s humiliating setback to UCLA. If I’m being honesty, Arizona played equally uninspired football in each game. The concern is as good as Arizona has proven to be at times this season the Wildcats are operating on extremely thin margins. Perfection is impossible, but the pursuit of perfection is required in order to produce victories. Today, Arizona does get back to prioritizing the fundamentals and pursuing perfection to the point that they emerge victorious over Colorado.
Arizona 37, Colorado 23
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