No offense to Alex Zendejas, but not only was he not the Conference’s best special teams performer this week, but he wasn’t even the Wildcats’ best special teamer. Sure his game winning field goal instantly placed him in Wildcat lore, but he also had an awful kick earlier in the game on a missed chip shot field goal.
While Kyle Williams certainly gets the credit (or blame) for the muffed punt, you can’t ignore the play Mike Turner made. Turner grabbed the ball on the move, not an easy thing to do. Sure he thought he was going to score the go-ahead touchdown, but had he not hung onto the ball, the odds are that the Devils would have recovered.
Orlando Vargas also gets huge praise. It’s tough enough to block a punt. It’s even tougher to recover your own block. But to block the punt without laying out, then grabbing the bouncing ball on the run and scooting into the endzone? That is crazy. Of course, with the offensive struggles, his touchdown proved to be huge.
And don’t forget Keenyn Crier. Crier punted nine times, averaging a very solid 47.3 yards a kick. When the pressure was on, Crier got off great kicks, including one from his own endzone without the benefit of a full 15 yards to work with. He was also key as a holder on the final play. The snap was a tad high and tight into his body, but Crier handled it and got it down for Zendejas’ game winner…
If Arizona beats USC odds are the Cats will be in the Sun Bowl. Although a second place finish is possible with an Oregon win Thursday night, it is not a sure thing that the Holiday Bowl would select the Wildcats over Stanford, Cal (assuming they beat UW) or Oregon State. Conversely, all the word out of El Paso is that the Sun Bowl really wants the Wildcats and their fanbase that is just four hours from them…
Sean Miller is concerned with the foul situation for the Wildcats. They had foul trouble in all three games in Maui. His staff suggested after the games at the Maui Classic that they would review the tapes and see if it was a problem with the officiating or the team.
Miller would not answer questions about the official, but did mention that the Cats did a lot of reaching in the three games, especially on dribble penetration.
While Miller would not comment on the officials anymore, Jamelle Horne was not as cautious. When asked about what the players could do to improve upon what they did in Maui, and what could continue to hamper them, Horne gave a long list of ideas, then added, “we could have a bad draw of having suspect refs.”
Speaking of Horne, Miller is really pleased with his play, especially on the glass and blocking shots, but wants him to do more offensively. Miller wants Horne to attack the basket more and rely on three-point shots less. With Horne’s explosiveness he should be able to score near the buck, as well as get to the line far more frequently. While he has the green light to continue shooting beyond the arc, Miller wants more variety from his offense…
Miller also discussed the injury status of Kevin Parrom, or more specifically, a lack of updates. Parrom is two weeks removed form the injury and although things are progressing well, there is still a long way to go. Miller indicated they could have the rookie forward back by the end of December, or maybe not until next season. Miller said there have been talks about a redshirt if, and only if, Parrom does not return in a timely manner. Of course, to quote Miller, “there is still a lot of basketball to play.”