Notables and quotables from Arizona’s 36-23 loss at Utah last night.
Arizona Head Coach Rich Rodriguez quotes from postgame press conference:
On keeping Utah off-balance in the first half (Arizona led 14-12 at the half)
“We made a couple of big plays in the passing game. Our defense was active and fresh. I don’t know if we got tired in the second half or worn down a little bit. We’re undersized — woefully undersized — defensively, but they’re trying hard. In the first half we were pretty active. In the second half, I’ve got to watch the film to see if we were less active or what the deal was.”
Were you encouraged by your first-half start?
“I was encouraged that we hit a couple of plays that were there. There’s probably going to be a few that we would love to have back after watching the film. But the effort was good and the guys are trying hard. We’ve just got to clean a few things up. We’ve got to get some turnovers, certainly, and we can’t have them on offense—we had three that were pretty tough. And the field position was not good for us. You’ve got to give their kicker and their punter a lot of credit. They were phenomenal, and we weren’t as sharp as we need to be on our kicks.”
On what you tell the team to keep them going after 0-3 conference start
“What do you want me to do, quit? You want me to quit? What are you asking? We’ll probably just going to go down here and, you know, maybe try to hitchhike home and maybe feel sorry for ourselves; and probably just, you know, cancel the season. That’s what I think we ought to do is just cancel the season. We lost a couple of games. We had a couple of tough ones against some pretty good teams.”
Nobody is sounding the alarm?
“Is that what you want? Is that what you expect? You want those players and coaches in there to quit because we lose a game or two? Come on. These guys are going to fight. We’re not used to doing it and nobody’s going to be happy. We ain’t going to be like ‘oh, woe is us.’ We’re going to get back to work and try to win the next one.”
According to the participation report from last night’s game, the Arizona players who did not play but started in the previous five games:
OL Freddie Tagaloa (knee)
QB Anu Solomon (knee)
RB Nick Wilson (ankle)
NG Parker Zellers (knee)
LB Michael Barton made his first start for Arizona and had a game-high 12 tackles, including two for lost yardage.
CB Jace Whittaker also had his first start of the season and registered a career-high five pass breakups.
Players who have started but came off the bench last night include CB DaVonte’ Neal, FS Jarvis McCall Jr. and WILL LB Paul Magloire Jr.
There's another catch by Nate Phillips. 39-straight games with a catch for Nate. pic.twitter.com/PmzHFqyyj5
• Senior wide receiver Nate Phillips had a pair of catches and now has at least one catch in 39 straight games. Phillips finished with two catches for 21 yards. He is three shy of the Arizona record of 42 consecutive games with a reception held by Dennis Northcutt and Bobby Wade.
• True freshman Khalil Tate made his second appearance at quarterback. He finished 5 for 8 for 81 yards and one touchdown, a beauty of a pass 63 yards Samajie Grant. He also rushed for 33 yards on 10 carries. Tate is the first true freshman to see time at quarterback for Arizona since Matt Scott in 2008 backed up Willie Tuitama.
• WR Trey Griffey matched his season high with four receptions for a season-high 109 yards.
• Grant recorded his 11th career touchdown catch. He was the receiver who made the winning catch against Utah last year in the double-overtime thriller at Arizona Stadium.
• After failing to record a sack last week at UCLA, Arizona had two last night, one by Barton and the other by Magloire. Utah was held without a sack. Utah entered the game tied for No. 7 in the nation and second in the Pac-12 in total sacks (18). But what about the tackle by Pasoni Tasini of Tate that resulted in a safety in the second quarter? Isn’t that a sack? Good question. It appears the stat keeper determined Tate was trying to run the ball instead of passing according to the final stats.
ARIZONA PLAYERS WHO RANK IN TOP 50 STATISTICALLY NATIONALLY
RUSHING YARDS P/C
RUSHING YARDS P/G
POINTS RESPONSIBLE FOR
POINTS RESPONSIBLE FOR P/G
PASSING YARDS P/C
YARDS PER PASS ATTEMPT
YARDS PER RECEPTION
FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER!
ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.