Arizona Wildcats quarterback Nick Foles wore a black band on his left wrist at Pac-12 Media Day earlier this week. Coach Mike Stoops wore the same black band on his right wrist.
There are two messages on it: “No looking back” and “All in.” The university’s “A” logs separates the sayings.
This is the band the Wildcats will be wearing this season, the mottos they want to carry into the season as they try to erase the memories of a five-game losing streak to end last year.
“You can learn from the past, but no looking back, no regrets,” Foles said.
“And everybody has to be all in. So, bands go to the equipment guys, the video crew, the training staff … because football is a family. If we’re going to win all the games I want to win, we have to be all together.”
I asked Stoops if everyone is wearing the bands.
“They are if they’re all in,” he replied.
Two things about Foles this season.
1. He has to be a better and quicker decision-maker, not forcing throws or holding the ball too long, both of which led to untimely turnovers last season. We’ll see how that turns out.
2. He has to be the leader of these Wildcats, which is something we already know how it has turned out. He dedicated himself to being that kind of leader through the entire offseason.
“He had to step up,” Stoops said. “That’s part of the maturity and growth. I mean, that is what he’s going to have to do for the rest of his career.”
Foles and other team veterans got together to create the wristbands, but the planning of the team’s offseason informal workouts fell more squarely on Foles.
“Playing quarterback, to take that next step, you have to realize that, you know what, this is my team, these are my guys,” Foles said.
“I have to be the head of it. It’s on me. They look to me. And that’s where the morning throwing came from. I was looked at to set it up how I wanted to do it. Of course, I’m not going to completely run the show. I have guys to run the show with me,” he added, mentioning senior linebacker Paul Vassallo and senior cornerback Trevin Wade.
“I go to different guys and say, ‘Hey, what do you think we should get done today, what are y’all thinking?”
Those 7-on-7 workouts began at 6:45 a.m. Per NCAA rules, coaches aren’t allowed to watch or take video of the drills.
“I got music out there. I got water bottles out there like it was a practice,” Foles said.
“It really was just us out there, teaching each other, going through it, and it really develops a great bond. It’s a blast. We’re just out there playing football for an hour and a half with no coaches yelling at us.”