Cats Take A Break

Oct. 14, 2003

TUCSON -

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Wildcats Welcome Open Date

(Note: Arizona's complete football release for the California game will be available Monday, Oct. 20)

The Game - The University of Arizona Wildcats (1-6, 0-3 in the Pacific-10) have an open date Oct. 18. The Cats' next action is Saturday, Oct. 25, in Berkeley, Calif., for a league game against the California Golden Bears. California (3-4, 1-1) had an open date Oct. 11, and will play against UCLA in Los Angeles this Saturday (ABC-TV, 12:30 p.m. PDT).

Some Current Themes - An Arizona team that has shown spunk in the last three weeks takes a break before going out and trying again... Everyone said the UA's 2003 schedule was a devil. The Wildcats completed a wicked stretch of games in September and early October featuring ranked or streaking opponents ... The Cats get back to work early this week, but will take time off Friday and Saturday before resuming game-week preparation on Sunday... UA mentor Mike Hankwitz gets some breathing room after a whirlwind ascension to the head job on Sept. 28 - while still continuing his role as defensive coordinator... UA looks to snap a four-game Pac-10 losing streak at the venue, Cal's Memorial Stadium, where it won its only league game in 2002...

The Series - Arizona leads, 11-9-2, and has won the last four meetings, its best recent success in league action and best streak against the Bears... The Cats travel to Berkeley for the fourth consecutive game (1998, 2001, 2002), where UA holds a 6-4-2 edge... UA won 51-42 last season, a rousing contest that eventually proved to be its only Pac-10 victory... Thirteen of the 22 games have been decided by less than seven points with two games decided in overtime and two ties... Average series score: UA 25, Cal 23...

The Coaches - Arizona: Mike Hankwitz (Michigan '70), enters his third game as UA's interim head coach (0-2), his first head coaching job. Hankwitz was appointed Sept. 28 after John Mackovic was relieved of duties. He is in his second stint at Arizona and has a noted background with more than 30 years of collegiate work at Michigan, Arizona, Purdue, Western Michigan, Colorado, Kansas and Texas A&M. He has been a defensive coordinator for the past 16 seasons and 19 overall. California: Jeff Tedford (Fresno State '83), second year at California (10-9) and second year overall. Tedford is 0-1 against Arizona.

Arizona Last Week- The Wildcats let victory elude them, squandering a 21-10 halftime lead and allowing mistakes to result in a 24-21 loss to UCLA. UA ran the ball down UCLA's throat, netting 276 yards, and hit some big passing plays to account for another 243 markers and a season-best 519 yards in total offense. Arizona's defense had three takeaways and held the Bruins to 17 points in six red-zone penetrations. The Cats avoided being sacked, had more time of possession, more first downs and more plays from scrimmage - all good signs of improvement. But, the mistakes: UA quarterbacks were intercepted four times, a couple of the nine penalties flagged against the Cats came at crucial times, the UA's own red-zone proficiency took a hit, and kickers missed two chip-shot opportunities at field goals, one that could have tied the game with five minutes remaining. UA coach Mike Hankwitz called it one of the most frustrating defeats in his three-decade coaching career. UA had its best shot at victory in a streak of six losses, and came up short. The effort, though, was encouraging, as was UA's offensive improvement against the Pac-10 leader in total defense. UA jumped to a 7-0 lead on the first possession of the game, driving 80 yards in six plays, keyed by a Clarence Farmer run of 29 yards and a pass from Kris Heavner to Lance Relford for 28 yards. Goal-line QB Nic Costa came in and lobbed a 7-yard TD throw to tight end Matt Padron. UCLA regained the lead, 10-7, in the second quarter with a swift drive, but UA answered with an eight-play 83-yard drive to make it 14-10 Cats. Successive runs of 41 and 29 yards by Mike Bell and five consecutive runs by Farmer for 12 tough red-zone yards set up the scoring play - another Costa toss of one yard to Farmer. UA posted the halftime lead with a turnover score, following a Clay Hardt interception with a 39-yard bomb from Heavner to Biren Ealy for a two-minute offense sparkler. The second half was different, though. While UCLA gained only 143 yards after the break, it caught all the other breaks and made one for itself, notably a 55-yard interception return for a score by tackle Rodney Leisle off Heavner. UA drove to the UCLA 5 yard-line for a 1st-and-goal, but came up empty on Nick Folk's 28-yard field goal try. Costa set UA up with a last chance after a 33-yard throw to Ealy put UA at its own 34 yard-line with time running down, but his next toss was intercepted by Justin London. Game over.

Noting the Golden Bears...

University of California, Berkeley ** Enrollment: 32,000 ** Colors: Blue & Gold ** Conference: Pacific-10 ** 2002 Record: 7-5

...The Bears had the nation's best one-year turnaround with the 7-5 mark under Jeff Tedford a year ago, on the heels of the 1-10 mark UC-Berkeley posted in 2001. That helped Tedford earn the Pac-10 Coach of the Year award... Tedford, in his second year, is tied with fellow Bay Area coach Buddy Teevens of Stanford at fifth in the Pac-10 in coaching seniority... California plays 13 games this year, thanks to its August appearance in the Black Coaches Association Classic in Kansas City, falling to Kansas State, 42-28. The Bears gained 440 yards in total offense against the normally staunch KSU defense... Four of California's games were decided in the final two minutes of play - the victory at Illinois and over USC, and losses to Colorado State and Utah... Cal's schedule includes games against nine bowl teamsAs did Arizona, Cal opened the year with seven games in seven weeks...Lest anyone consider the Bears lightly, consider that Cal used three overtimes to beat then No. 3 Southern California, 34-31, on Sept. 27, to snap the once second-longest winning streak in the nation (11 games)... Junior wide receiver Geoff McArthur is among national leaders in receiving yards, taking a total of 695 into the Bears' game at UCLA this week. He's likely to move into the California Top 15 receptions list this week... Junior linebacker Wendell Hunter had 15 tackles at Illinois on Spet. 20, including a sack at the end of the game that saved the Bears' 31-24 victory with the Illini threatening at the Cal 8 yard-line... Cal has been the least-penalized team in the Pac-10 this year, with only 37 penalties in its firs seven games. (UA has 49)... Adimchinobe Echemandu, Cal's senior tailback, had 147 yards rushing against USC and 146 against Oregon State to nearly make it a two- or three-man race for the rushing crown at the mid-point in Pac-10 play. Echemandu takes a 91.1 yards-per-game average to Pasadena this week, trailing leader Steven Jackson of OSU (146 ypg)... One-hundred-fifty pount punt returner Vinny Strang is among the national top 20 with a 15.1 average heading into action this week... Sophomore rover back Donnie McCleskey leads the team with 61 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss. The sacks are tops nationally among defensive backs... Senior offensive tackle Mark Wilson will enter the UA game with 43 starts to his credit. if he starts against the Bruins... A group of eight junior college transfers have earned starting jobs or significant roles for the Bears this year... Cal switched back to artificial turf over the summer, replacing natural grass that had been in Memorial Stadium since 1995...

Arizona in 2003 Statistical RankingsCategory/Figure NCAA Pac-10Rushing/111.7 93 8Passing/175.1 98 9Pass Eff./92.65 108 9Total Offense/286.9 111 10Scoring/15.7 106 10Rush Def./175.0 88 10Pass Def./271.7 105 9Pass Eff. Def./146.29 105 10Total Def./446.7 104 10Scoring Def./34.3 107 10Net Punting/35.4 73 7Punt Ret./4.9 112 10KOR/16.7 109 9Turnover Margin/-.43 82 7Fumbles Lost/5 40 3Fumbles Rec./11 4 1Passes Had Int./15 117 10Passes Intercepted/6 60 8Turnovers Gained/17 12 4Turnovers Lost/20 109 10Individual Top 50:Punting - Baugher 42.4 32 7

Injury Report, Bye Week

Out: OT Brandon Phillips (knee vs. Oregon), OG John Parada (knee, camp), both out for the year. Freshman DL Cedric Cofer had leg surgery during camp and will redshirt. Questionable: OG Reggie Sampay (knee at Purdue, missed TCU/WSU/UCLA). Probable: LB Justin Stewart (shoulder, missed TCU/WSU/UCLA). HB Gainus Scott (non-football illness) returned to practice before the Purdue game and returned to action on special teams at WSU... Rover Clay Hardt and defensive tackles Carl Tuitavuki and Carlos Williams (ankles) played against UCLA and should be full-go for the Cal game...

Game Captains

The team will elect permanent team captains in November. Each Friday prior to then, the coaching staff nominates game captains. UTEP - LT Brandon Phillips, OLB Matt Molina, HB Mike Bell. LSU - LB Joe Siofele, QB Nic Costa, TE Steve Fleming. Oregon - C Keoki Fraser, DE Carlos Williams, OG Kili Lefotu. Purdue - RB Beau Carr, FS Clay Hardt. TCU - DT Carl Tuitavuki, PK Bobby Gill. WSU - Siofele, Fleming, OLB Andre Torrey. UCLA: CB Michael Jolivette, CB Luis Nunez, Keoki Fraser. Cal: TBA

Miscellany of Late...

...UA's offensive line held UCLA and WSU's league-best sack attack to zero sacks in the last two games. Against WSU the shutout came on 38 called pass plays... Those were two good jobs against solid defenses.

...In the UCLA game, UA's 519 yards in total offense was its most in 20 games, since it put up 578 yards in a 51-37 loss to Stanford on Nov. 10, 2001. The Cats had 510 yards in the season opener against Northern Arizona last year...

...Senior halfback Clarence Farmer got his first start in a year (Sept. 21, 2002 at Wisconsin) and like in that game posted a 100-yard day. with 25 carries for 122 net yards. He missed the last eight games of 2002 with an injury then gave way to Mike Bell for most of this year. Bell had his second-best game against the Bruins, with 94 yards on 8 totes. He (49 yards) and Farmer (29 yards) had some good breakaway runs vs. the Bruins, who were rated tops in the league in total defense at the time... They just missed becoming the first double-century pair since then-freshman Farmer (33-107) and QB Ortege Jenkins (11-104) did it against UCLA in 2000...

...UCLA seems to bring out some beast in the Cats. Arizona's 276 yards rushing vs. UCLA was its biggest total in the last 44 games, dating to a 307-yard effort it pegged against the Bruins on Oct. 30, 1999, in Los Angeles. Trung Canidate had 148 yards in that one to lead the UA effort, with freshman fullback Lance Briggs chipping in 52 yards. (He's now a Chicago Bears linebacker)...

...UA quarterbacks' four intercepted passes against UCLA puts the club at the bottom of Division I-A with 15 total. The school 'record' is 26 by the 1949 Wildcats. It's probable that the Cats won't challenge the mark. As offensive strategist John Mackovic pointed out earlier this year, only game experience can give young quarterbacks the smarts to avoid the mistake throws. Kris Heavner and Nic Costa are finding it's a truism...

...Redshirt freshman tight end Matt Padron caught his second seven-yard touchdown pass in as many games against UCLA. Same yardage and same play - UA inserted soph QB Nic Costa at the goal line and he rolls left... Padron and starter Steve Fleming, who was slowed by a sore ankle in recent weeks, have combined for 13 grabs, 151 yard and three TD receptions...

...The Cats 21 points in the first half against UCLA snapped a scoreless skein in first halves of five games from LSU through WSU... ...Inexplicably, kickers who do it nearly automatically in practice have posted a 2-for-7 mark on field goal tries this year. Bobby Gill (32) and Nicholas Folk (28) each missed against UCLA in a game lost by three points. Folk's was his first career attempt. He scored his first career point with a PAT kick to end the first half...

...Farmer's three catches (32 yards) vs. UCLA tied him with sophomore fullback Gilbert Harris for the most receptions (9) by running backs... Mike Bell led backs with 13 last year when the bulk of Jason Johnson's tosses were heading to since departed Bobby Wade (93) and Andrae Thurman (61)...

Game Tickets

The McKale Center Ticket Office is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (520-621-2287). Call 1-800-452-2287 toll-free. Game-day sales on the east side of Arizona Stadium are from 10 a.m. until halftime. Online ticket sales at arizonaathletics.com are offered 24/7 except after 10 a.m. game day. Game tickets range from $7-$20, or more if in priority seating areas.

Arizona Football On TV

The California game will not be televised. Other games are under consideration by Pacific-10 Conference television partners. One other UA game (at ASU) has been pre-selected for national television and UA partner FSNA may produce additional games. Games produced by FSN this year also will be distributed by Fox Sports Digital Nets.

Arizona Football on Radio

KNST 790-AM Radio (Clear Channel) is the flagship station for live UA football broadcasts on the Wildcat Sports Network. Brian Jeffries and Les Josephson call the play. Affiliates: KKNT Phoenix, KDAP Douglas, KVNA Flagstaff, KIKO Globe, KZUA Holbrook, KLAV Las Vegas, KWRQ Safford, KTAN Sierra Vista, KNOT Prescott, KBLU Yuma. KTOX-Needles, KVSL Show Low. KNST administers UA's Spanish language broadcasts carried by KXEW Tucson and XENY Nogales with Francisco Romero and Luis Fernando Perez. KNST's broadcast is available on the Internet for $6.95 monthly, through RealNetworks at arizonaathletics.com. Live GameTracker stats can be followed at arizonaathletics.com.

Coach's Shows

Head coach Mike Hankwitz' weekly radio and television shows are produced by KNST Radio, with host Brian Jeffries and the coach taping during 'Mondays in the Huddle,' a public gathering at McMahon's Steakhouse at noon Mondays. The radio show airs at 6 p.m. Tuesdays on KNST-790 AM and the TV segment is broadcast at 9:30 p.m. Wednesdays on KWBA-58.

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