Stoops: Defense not good enough to ‘play for championship’ right nowby Anthony Gimino on Aug. 21, 2010, under Sports
Arizona got in only 20 minutes and 25 plays of its scrimmage Saturday night. Coach Mike Stoops wanted to see more … but, in another sense, he had seen enough.
At least, he had seen least enough to know that defense remains the overriding concern of these Wildcats, now 12 days away from the opening kickoff at Toledo.
“I was hoping we would be a little bit further along, but we have a lot of young players,” Stoops said after lightning cut short the scrimmage at Arizona Stadium.
“That correlates to some confusion. We have to eliminate some of the confusion so we can play faster and more effectively defensively.”
The team was scheduled to have Sunday and Monday off, but, given the abbreviated Saturday night, Stoops said he likely will hold a scrimmage during that time. That young back seven on defense needs the work.
There were a few highlights packed into the 20 minutes of scrimmage.
Quarterback Nick Foles nicely worked the first-team offense down the field in the opening possession, driving 70 yards, capped by a 4-yard touchdown pass to Dave Roberts.
Foles rolled right on the play and fired a low pass into the front corner of the end zone. It was one of the those “only the receiver could catch it passes” as Roberts went low and curled up for the catch.
Third-string running back Greg Nwoko, who missed the spring because of shoulder surgery, looked strong and quick. He went 29 yards on a swing pass from Foles and later scooted 24 yards on a draw play. One problem: He fumbled at the end of that run, as safety Anthony Wilcox knocked the ball loose. Cornerback Trevin Wade recovered for the defense.
Another highlight for the defense was safety Adam Hall ripping the ball out of the hands of tight end Jack Baucus after a reception. Baucus recovered, though.
“We’re still defensively not where we want to be,” Stoops said. “We’re not playing good enough to play for a championship at this point. If we don’t get better, then we are going to struggle.”