Thursday, September 29, 2005

The week off that was

The week is winding down and what a week it's been. The tragic loss of yet another young spirited Wildcat athlete has a way of putting all this sports stuff into proper perspective. We can be thankful that our coaches have more on their minds than just winning games. More than coaches, they are surrogate parents, mentors, guides, and responsible for turning young eager teenagers into responsible goal-oriented adults. The loss and memory of Polkey will no doubt inspire all Wildcat teams to come. What a shame we weren't able to enjoy her finest hour, her final year.

Stoops' troops will need all the inspiration they can get in Saturday's battle against Cal. The lack of a decent run defense, and the disappearance of all tackling skills period put the Cats in a hole the minute they step on the field. It's about time we turn things around and break off a few big plays of our own. Hello, Mike Jefferson? Chris Henry? Mike Bell? Somebody please step up. The opportunity to show our stuff on national TV (TBS) is incentive plenty to play all four quarters hard and clean.

I was talking to a sales rep this week, and when I found out he had driven down from Pheonix (sic) the talk immediately turned to football. "Of course, you're going to root for us against 'SC this weekend, right?" he said. "Of course not, Bryan," was my reply. He'd heard that we were calling for Stoops' head down here, but I informed that was only wishful thinking by Scum Devil fans. "Nope, we read the posts on the UA message boards." Right - these are probably the same posters who are UA fan posers, too. The same ones who leave at the half and slip off to God knows where. Time for the real fans to stand up and be counted.

Defenseless -- if it happens again against Cal it's going to be real ugly.

"Major blow out?" -- or "possible devasting loss?" Cal fans looking at this weekend's game from both ends. Oh. It's Homecoming at Cal, too. Great.

Tribute to Polkey -- from the Daily Californian. Touching and inspiring.

Passing on the right legally -- Kovalchek is putting it together, more pieces hoping to show up Saturday.

Former Stormer -- ex-PCC Storm Mickey Pimentel should be glad he got out of Pima while the getting was good. But talking smack about the UA? Shame on you Mickey. Let's hope he meets Brad Wood a few times during the game.

Two years ago today -- Johnny Mac was fired as UA head coach. We were already 1-4 by this time?

Bear down!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Remembering Polkey

Star player's death stuns UA -- and the rest of us in this community. Unbelievable to think that something as small as a blood clot in her lungs (PE) could bring down such a giant of a young woman. In my line of work I see plenty of exams ordered for this, with 80-90% being negative. It's not unusual, though, for those patients whose exams turn out positive to "just feel bad," with no other significant symptoms.

Polkey will be a member of the Wildcat family forever - and God and the angels got one helluva sweet soul to play center.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Midweek Musings

Jet Blue Flight 292 is attempting an emergency landing at LAX and I'm thinking about the Cats - go figure. Even with last week's close loss to Purdue the rest of the season holds much promise for players and fans, if only the mistakes are kept to a minimum. The maturity that's lacking is showing in silly miscues, mishaps, and missed assignments. Two weeks to get ready for Cal - can we catch them napping?

Brad Wood -- Man of Steel. The banner "Build This House With Wood" hangs from the upper level on the east side of the stadium each home game. Better than straw, I guess...

Wildcats and Bowl Game in the same headline? -- Shane Bacon at the Daily Wildcat critiques Mike, Mike, and Mike (what? what? what?)

Lute recruit - Lance Thomas, highly-ranked (five star) recruit from the East coast, visited the Old Pueblo last weekend. Sounds as if he likes it here.

Geraldo - latest sighting of Jerry Rivers and the UA appears.
Rivera is a graduate of the University of Arizona and Brooklyn Law School, and is the author of seven books.

Lethal Diamondbacks -- the real kind. I still remember Mr. Bork and his encounter with the deadly reptile.

Jet Blue plane just landed, so it's time for me to get my ass up. So says Wilma.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Cats almost Pur-do it tonight

Just pulled in the driveway from tonight's game - Whew! What a game. It had a sense of big-time football from the moment we walked into the stadium: the Purdue traveling party was in strong voice, the ZonaZoo stayed and stood for the entire game, and the UA band supported the team (except as noted later) 'til the end. Wilbur even did a pole dance to AC/DC! The Wildcats came out on the short end of the pole, though, 31-24. Not a bad loss to a highly ranked Big10 team, and just a few miscues away from an upset.

If you wear red tonight - the Cats looked sharp in their red unis and white pants, their first appearance in red jerseys in 25 years. It was always hard to understand why the crowd wore red but the team didn't. It even seemed like they moved a little quicker in red.

Shot in the foot - that happened a few times, with untimely penalties and poor execution stopping promising drives throughout the game. Or keeping drives from getting started at all. Early in the game the Cats had been called for 5 penalties with the Boilermakers declining 4 of them.

Baugher steps it up - the dude averaged over 57 yards/punt on 7 kicks, a new school record for punt avg. in a game. A 71-yarder bounced into the endzone. Amazing show tonight, Danny. You definitely helped keep us in this one.

Team goes MIA in third quarter - the offense only managed ONE yard of offense after the half until they rattled off an 8 yard gain on the last play of the 3rd quarter. Coincidentally, the band was MIA from their seats, also, using this time to split into small groups around the track. While the Pride of Arizona was awesome the rest of the game, the team could have used some more support from the band in that crucial quarter. Hats off to the band the rest of the game - great job.

Students show up and stay - what fun it would have been in the ZonaZoo tonight. Great spirit, body paint jobs - even the "F*** Purdue" cheer was loud and well-timed. Please, though - a little quieter during the National Anthem.

What a difference a week makes - and the caliber of the opponent. After a week off, it's off to Berkeley to play Cal.

Get 'er Done! and Bear Down.

Cats Purr - Do it!

This year's second home game and a packed house is expected for Purdue. Parking will be at a premium, so get there early unless you want to park at Broadway and Campbell (Dave).

No TV - one reason for the near-sellout tonight is the lack of TV - live or otherwise.

Heat no factor - it should be a pleasant 80 degrees or so at kickoff. Still, the Boilermakers sound they're expecting a desert heat wave. Maybe they could suck on some napolitos for moisture.

Bowling in the future? - still a reach, but what the heck? We can always dream of an extra game. Salad Bowl?

Bear Down, Cats.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Hump Day

Wednesdays always give me hope that the weekend is getting closer. And with the Purdue Boilermakers coming to town for a Saturday showdown with the Wildcats this week can't go fast enough.

No TV - Strange as it sounds, the UA/Purdue game will not be on the tube Saturday. Huddle up by those radios, or - better yet - get a ticket to the game and support the team. The opportunity is there for a program-turning upset.

Midnight Madness - the name probably won't change, but the time has. This year's formal introduction will follow a Ladycats volleyball game, starting about 9:00p. Expect a large crowd at that game to stick around for some dunks and chuckles.

Got Wood? - tight end Brad Wood is coming along nicely for the Cats. Bonus - he's a local kid.

Beat the heat - PU coach Tiller not worried about the temperature at game time. Then again, he won't be wearing pads and a helmet, either.

Bear Down.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Notes and thoughts from the game tonight

The Cats managed to pull one out, beating NAU 31-12. All in all it was a pretty much forgettable performance, missing that spark that we were hoping to see. I guess the Cats thought they could just mail this one in. Some talking points:

The crowd was really in to this one at the start. There were a few changes from last year, like the replacement of the inflatable helmet-tunnel with a pretty generic Bear Down Club banner that the team ran under to take the field. The big-screen video also took on a few changes, with the fireworks timed to explode with a shot of an NAU helmet. I thought both of these were a step backwards from previous years' introductions.

The ZonaZoo was in full voice, and actually got the crowd to sing along to the National Anthem. I can't remember the last time the student section extended all the way up to coffin corner. After halftime, though, the Zoo was half-empty, coinciding with the half-assed effort the team put forward in the second half. Stick around and keep 'em pumped, students!

The Pride of Arizona, again this year, did little but put on a pregame and halftime show. Seems like the rest of the time they are too busy pulling little stunts like dancing on the track or rolling their cymbals. Rarely did I hear Bear Down, and never did the band play the "2001" version. Come to think of it, I didn't even get to sing "Fight Wildcats." Or "All Hail Arizona" after the game. Empty those spit valves and play some songs. The NAU band and cheerleaders did much more to support the Jacks than their UA counterparts. As a former member of the band I lament the lack of support the band now gives the team. Hey - how about a few catchy drum cadences or something? Forget about playing to the camera and play for the TEAM.

I like the Crazy Train sound bite each time the offense took the field. Let's play like we're getting to bite off some heads ourselves.

No game programs for sale before the game? Or did they just run out? Unforgivable.

Coach Stoops gave a great sideline show throughout the game. Watching him alone was worth the price of my new binoculars.

How the heck did the staff and team miss that NAU fake punt in the first quarter? Heck - the Jacks didn't even have anyone back to punt the freaking ball! Nobody in our section was fooled at all. Big brain fart there, coach.

A win is win, each one precious to the Wildcats, so tonight's game will eventually just show up in the W column. What started with such promise tonight fizzled quickly after halftime. If the Cats will play for the entire game, the crowd just might stay til the end. The aisles were too easy to navigate when we left after the clock had run out.

If bigtime college football at Arizona means little noise from the band (would you have known where they were sitting if you'd closed your eyes?), a student section that goes back to the kegs at the half, and a louder visitors' section than home crowd, then we are really missing out folks.

Purdue next Saturday - let's give them a game and venue to remember.

Ye Old Prognosticator

I agree with this guy - AZ 41 NAU 10. Anything less might be tough for the home crowd.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Lumberjacks off to Tucson

AZ still gets the point spread from the AP, but is warned against anything but an all-out effort to avoid an upset. A loss to the other in-state rival would give the UA a face as red as the South endzone.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Purdue here next week....

Don't get caught up in that mindset - NAU will play the game of their lives here Saturday. See you there.

Frustrating for some

From John Schuster via Cat Tracks, more Stoops bashing. I thought coming within 3 points of a team that had won 16 in a row (17 now) was pretty decent. True, the execution was lacking on both sides of the ball, but we're light years ahead of where we were with Corporate Coach Mack.

Playing down?

So says this article. Check this out:

Northern Arizona (1-0) at Arizona (0-1), 10:00

Four Big Sky teams face I-A opponents this week, and Northern Arizona probably has the best shot to steal a victory against its in-state foe. The Lumberjacks only finished 4-7 a year ago and lost to Arizona, but they gave the Wildcats all they could handle in the season opener. NAU trailed only 7-3 through three quarters and were outgained by only 27 yards in the game. Three Jason Murrietta interceptions halted the NAU effort, but Murrietta was playing with an almost entirely new cast of receivers in the season opener. Northern Arizona held Adams State to 166 yards of total offense in last week's game, and faces an Arizona team that only scored more than 20 points three times in 2004. But while they have the defense to stay in the game, the Lumberjacks also face an apparently improved Arizona team. The Wildcats came within three points at Utah, and have a pretty solid defense of their own. NAU should hang in until the fourth quarter, but won't generate enough offense to come away with the victory. Prediction: Arizona 24, Northern Arizona 10

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Home Opener

Now that I've recovered from last week's disappointing loss to Utah (there are only so many "what if's" allowed per game, it's time to regroup. I've forgiven Chris Henry for his 2 fumbles, even though he didn't drop one all spring or camp. Stoops was only trusting what he knows best - namely defense - to win the game in the waning minutes. Danny Baugher would drop that punt inside the 20 9 times out of 10. Anyway, here goes:

The folks in Flag look at the game this weekend
- wonder what a Lumberjack traveling party looks like?

"You play like you practice" - and other gems from coach Stoops about the past weekend. We had heard that practices were going well, hadn't we?

Sancet Field gets a makeover
- would have loved to have been there for the yard sale.

Looking ahead to Purdue
- at least Purdue is looking ahead to us. One game at a time, guys.

Where was B.J
. - Vickers didn't make the trip, so what the heck happened to him??

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Next week's opponent

NAU routs Div II foe Adams State in their opener, setting up next Saturday's showdown at Arizona Stadium. I doubt yesterday's loss to Utah will dampen the spirit of the home crowd, or keep them home, and the atmosphere should be electric. The fireworks won't stop with the introduction of the Cats.

Can't wait for the game and my lemon Eegee's.

Punt spells doom for Cats

The choice to punt the ball back to the Utes with 3+ minutes left in the game pretty much sealed the door on UA's fate last night. Not only did the punt sail into the endzone, giving Utah the ball at the 20, but the first play resulted in a gain back to our 4th down line of scrimmage. I would have loved to see us go for it there on 4th, win or lose, putting it all on the line. The loss would have been a little smaller pill to swallow.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Countdown to Kickoff

1290AMTheSource kicks off the pregame some four hours before the ball tees up....guess I'm not the only one can't wait. Finally - Game Day.

Utah wants respect
- and wants it at the Cats' expense. Not today, boys.

Mike Bell chimes in - he's ready to sock it to the Utes.

More from the SLC Tribune
- Six degrees of Cats and Utes.

Scouting Utah
- and I'm not talking Campfire Girls here.

More about the game here
- and here, and here, and here,, heck. Let's play ball.