I’m not above taking a little credit for the Arizona softball team’s postseason slogan.
Although most of the credit goes to Oregon football coach Chip Kelly.
I was talking with Wildcats coach Mike Candrea after Saturday’s regular-season finale — a 6-3 home loss to Cal, after which he, on the record, lamented the fact that he hasn’t been to find the right buttons to push to fully motivate this team.
For a coach who always has a postseason theme, here was a coach who didn’t have a postseason theme.
So, we were just talking, and, for some reason, I ended up mentioning Kelly’s persistence that his team simply “Win the Day.” Kelly is relentless about not letting his team think about anything beyond that.
Apparently, after thinking about it Saturday night, that turns out to be a theme Candrea can work with.
“That might be fitting for this group right now,” Candrea said Sunday night after the NCAA Tournament bracket was announced.
“They’ve had a tendency to look too far down the road. It’s almost come back to haunt us. We need to keep them in the present moment and get them to understand that right now we’re fighting for our lives.
“You can’t afford to not come out prepared, not come out with the energy you need to play the game and survive. I told the team the other day, this is going to tell a lot about their character. It’s going to set the legacy for this team.”
Arizona will resume practice Tuesday in advance of Friday’s regional opener against Harvard at 6:30 p.m. at Hillenbrand Stadium. Texas Tech and New Mexico State will play at 4 p.m.
Candrea said he will talk to his team about the “Win the Day” philosophy, likely printing up T-shirts, as well.
“I have been staying up at night, trying to think about what is going to spark this team,” Candrea said. “It’s a very interesting group. We’ll see.”
TUCSON REGIONAL SCHEDULE
Game 1, 4 p.m. — Texas Tech vs. New Mexico State
Game 2, 6:30 p.m. — Arizona vs. Harvard
Game 3, 2 p.m. — Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2
Game 4, 4:30 p.m. — Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2
Game 5, 7 p.m. — Loser Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4
Game 6, noon — Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5
Game 7, 2 p.m. — Repeat Game 6, if necessary