Posts Tagged ‘uniforms’
During the offseason college football fans love to argue about the same things: coaching changes, recruiting rankings, conference realignment, and uniform changes. Nothing gets people talking like something new.
Because of this it’s surprising the Arizona Wildcats took such a low-key approach to the introduction of their new uniforms for the 2010 football season.
Is the car gassed up? Did you check the tires? Are you stocked up on beef jerky and Tums? It’s like August all over again because the state of Arizona is heading to San Diego.
Holiday Bowl week is here!
The Las Vegas Bowl trip was an absolute blast and I’m looking forward to more of the same this year. I do hope we make this bowl game thing an annual tradition.
Although, looking at UA history the return bowl trip shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Dating back to the ‘80s every time the Cats broke a bowl draught they made it back to the postseason the following year. Now, going bowling again next year would be a bigger accomplishment as the Wildcats have only played in a bowl three straight years one time (1992-’94).
Arizona’s all-time bowl record is 6-7-1 so a win on Wednesday would even things up. That wouldn’t be bad at all considering the school went 65 years between its first bowl game (1921) and its first bowl victory (1986).
This is the first time we’ve played a school in a bowl game a second time. In our previous 14 bowls we played 14 different teams, from the obscure (Centre and Drake) to the name brand (Auburn, Georgia and Miami), but Nebraska is the first rematch.
The ’09 Cornhuskers are known for three things: defense, defense, and defense. In their last seven games Nebraska has only given up more than one offensive touchdown twice. They kept the other team’s O completely out of the end zone three different times. The Huskers intercepted 14 passes over their final six games.
This is not a game for Nick Foles to try and buy time with his feet. Holding the ball against these guys is a turnover waiting to happen. The game plan has to be read-read-read-throw it away.
I would love for our guys to score two quick TDs and coast but we’re probably going to see a game similar to the last two we played. What we need to not see is a third quarter like the last two. Just one first down in the opening period of the second half against both ASU and USC. What’s the opposite of halftime adjustments?
Sustaining long drives is going to be difficult so the Cats have got to look for a couple opportunities to take a shot deep with Juron Criner. We need to get the ball into #82’s hands as often as possible (remember the huge inside screen against Oregon) but it makes a lot of sense to try and set up a quick score or two with a one-on-one jump ball deep.
Field position is crucial in defensive struggles so Keenyn Crier needs to come up big. Thirteen-yard punts aren’t going to cut it. Along the same lines Alex Zendejas can’t miss any short field goals. Hopefully his kick against the Sun Devils will have him ready in case more 4th-quarter heroics are needed.
The fans won’t like it but I don’t see Mike Stoops doing a lot of gambling in the red zone. Yes, touchdowns are huge in this game, but field goals are semi-huge.
I will say this: One act of well-timed deception could make all the difference. I’m thinking something along the lines of going for it on 4th-and-inches, lining up in the “Hey! We’re running a quarterback sneak!” formation…and then passing. If that happens I will leave my nosebleed seat, storm the press box and lift Sonny Dykes onto my shoulders myself.
So word must have gotten out about our poor record wearing white jerseys and white pants. It’s like someone said, “Uniform stats, shmooniform stats. I see your fear of White-on-White and give you White-on-White-on-White.”
Whatever Arizona wears the program will be trying to finish a season ranked for just the sixth time in the Pac-10 era. A win would also give the Cats a rare year-ending win streak. Since leaving the WAC Arizona has only won three or more to end a season four times, with three-game streaks in 1984 and ’88 (no bowl game either year), a four-game streak to end 1997 and the seven-game run that took us to our first Holiday Bowl in ’98.
That’s a lot at stake for the guys from Tucson. What’s not at stake is a successful season. Mike Stoops has already proven that last year was no fluke and he’s providing solid evidence that he’s building a program with staying power.
Because of that it’s a perfect opportunity for the Wildcats to come out relaxed, confident, and ready to play their very best.
Grab your beef jerky and let’s ride.
How is Arizona going to score points in the Holiday Bowl?
What is the best way to attack Ndamukong Suh?
Will the UA D let up against a struggling offense? Will Nic Grigsby be able to play? Can the special teams win the field position battle?
Not interested, don’t know, don’t care.
Only one question matters as Arizona prepares for the Holiday Bowl.
What are we going to wear?
That’s right, the uniforms. I’m not talking about looking good on TV or trying to impress recruits. I want cold hard facts.
If the Wildcats were the designated home team the answer would be easy: wear blue jerseys. The UA hasn’t lost wearing blue shirts in three full seasons. Since the start of the 2007 campaign Stoops’ troops are 3-0 when wearing blue jerseys and white pants (the Central Michigan and NAU games this year), and an eye-opening 5-0 in Blue-on-Blue (including this year’s Stanford game). I don’t want to hear anyone complaining about the “blueberry” look ever again.
But what about the “lucky” red jerseys? We wore then in the Vegas Bowl and that turned out well, right? True, the Cats were in Red-on-Red for the victory over BYU, but that’s also the combination we wore in last year’s USC and OSU losses and this year’s Oregon heartbreaker. We’ve only gone with Red-on-Blue once the last two years and that was this year’s UCLA win.
(The one potential home combo yet to be used is Blue-on-Red. Could we be waiting to break it out in a key November game next year? It would probably look top-heavy with the blue helmets but, hey, sometimes when you need a little magic you’ve got to play the colors you’re dealt.)
On the road the chromatic schemes get trickier and, of course, Arizona is the designated away team against Nebraska.
My favorite road look, White-on-Red, is on a three-game losing streak. In fact, our two most lopsided losses in the past two years (Oregon in ’08 and Iowa this year) came on the road in red pants. Beauty knows not wins.
White-on-White was even worse, losing five straight games from ’06 to ’08 before finally breaking through against ASU this year. Can we count on another last-minute muff?
That leaves white jerseys and blue pants. This combination has had its ups and downs: 0-3 in 2005 but 3-0 in 2006. It went 1-3 in ’07-08 but bounced back nicely with a 2-1 record in 2009.
So there you have it. My official recommendation of the uniform combination that gives us the best chance of success is White-on-Blue.
It’s the combo we wore when we beat the Beavers in Nick Foles’ first start. It was the uniform in action when we took down USC. It’s hot.
Granted, White-on-Blue is also what we wore in this year’s Washington game.
To be safe, maybe we should change the color of our shoes.
Don’t you dare complain about this game.
“The Cats should’ve won by 30,” you say. I don’t want to hear it. “Should’ve won by more” is far superior to “Should’ve won.” You know what they say:
‘Tis better to have stunk and won
Than never to have won at all.
We knew the letdown was coming. If you have been following this program for any length of time you can rattle off countless examples of games where the Cats played down to the level of their completion. The same was true this weekend. But something strange happened.
The Wildcats won anyway.
The game script was looking straight out of our Arizona Football nightmares. When you play a team with a bad offense there are three things you want to avoid: Turning the ball over, giving the other team a short field, and yielding defensive or special teams touchdowns. We suffered through the ugly trifecta…and still won by two touchdowns.
The secret to Arizona’s success the last couple weeks has been the equivalent of keeping the president and vice-president on separate planes. As long as only one goes down in flames the country survives.
One-ply defense against Stanford? Don’t worry, we’ve got 43 points waiting. Butterfinger O versus the Bruins? Fear not, we’ll shut the UCLA offense out of the end zone.
I don’t care how bad UCLA’s quarterback was (or their next one, or the one after that). It was good to see the Cat defense looking fast again. I loved the caboose blitz where Cam Nelson followed Xavier Kelley through the same hole and leveled the quarterback. (I have no idea what it’s really called but doesn’t using cryptic lingo make it sound like I know what I’m talking about?)
Uniform fun fact of the week: Arizona is 3-0 when wearing red jerseys and blue pants against UCLA and 1-3 when wearing them against anyone else.
Uniform unfun fact of the week: Every time Arizona wears red Nick Foles throws three interceptions in the first half.
So there goes the Heisman. You figured Foles would come back to earth at some point and he did it with style. Nick had a direct hand in all five turnovers (although Nwoko was officially credited with the one fumble) that led to all 13 of UCLA’s points. But if a horrible game still looks like completing 65% of your passes and throwing two TDs, you’ve got to be excited about the future.
Bad: Nic Grigsby running to avoid contact and re-aggravating his shoulder injury anyway. Good: Keola Antolin getting 17 touches and looking sharp.
Speaking of looking sharp, Foles and Antolin might just be the hairiest backfield in the nation. Put in Taimi Tutogi at fullback and we could get Paul Mitchell as a game sponsor.
As we head into our second and final bye week the name of the game is health. They say you can’t overlook anybody in college football but for the next two weeks I hope Arizona does just that. The Cats have to do just that. Instead of spending two weeks preparing for Washington State I hope we spend three weeks preparing for Cal.
What I mean is nobody on the injury report should play against WSU. Start Nick Booth at tailback. Play the second-string defensive line. Go deep down the O-line depth chart. It’s worth gambling that Wazzu is indeed that bad in order to give the Wildcats the best possible chance to beat the California Golden Bears on November 14.
One could argue it was good that the Arizona offense played poorly this week. The inevitable letdown game is out of the way and the coaches now have plenty of things with which to get the players’ attention during the time off. It’s not like the team is going to spend the next two weeks hearing how great they are.
Offense: Five turnovers, huh?
Defense: I think Stanford just scored again.
Special Teams: THREE missed extra points?!
But you aren’t going to hear me complaining. Yes, I was just as frustrated and nervous as you during the game (Fall on the ball, Terrell!!!) but now that the dust has settled and win #5 is in the books I’m more than satisfied with the big picture.
The Cats are guaranteed to spend the next two weeks in the Top 25. Our next game is against the worst team in the league. All the big dreams are still out there. This was a great weekend for Arizona Football and no one can convince me otherwise.
I can even wait on that Heisman Trophy.