Two games in and the University of Arizona is already in trouble. Sound a bit dramatic? Perhaps, but did you see Saturday night’s 38-14 debacle at Arizona Stadium?
It’s personal (Arizona’s motto) went to this is incredible (and not in a good way).
So much so you wonder if all the good will Jedd Fisch has done in the nine months, he’s been the coach vanished in the first three possessions of the game.
Touchdown. Touchdown. Touchdown … all for San Diego State. Fisch knows the ramifications given he addressed the fans in his opening statement, apologizing for what he – and they – witnessed.
“I want to appreciate our fans. I think there were 39,000 fans, the Zona Zoo was packed, and we let them down,” Fisch said. “We want them to continue to come out in droves and come out with more people. And we will continue to work as hard as humanly possible to put a better product on the field. And that is our goal. We will. There are no hours left in a day that we won’t challenge ourselves to try to get better and challenge our team to get better. With that being said, I hope that we have that same turnout on next Saturday night, and that we can do a better job for them.”
Could it get any worse?
Fisch said he thought the team was ready, and well, insisted the team was ready. But they were never in the game … from the beginning.
“They outplayed us, outcoached us, outschemed us,” he said. “They played really hard, and they made it very hard on us. They’re a very good football team. They’re big, they’re strong, they’re fast, and it showed up tonight.”
And, well, Arizona didn’t.
It wasn’t pretty. Arizona was down 35-7 at halftime. Let’s put this in perspective: Arizona was down 42-7 to Arizona State just 10-plus months ago (sorry to bring that up).
One fan was so discouraged they sent this note to me: “The honeymoon is over.”
Let’s also remember that Fisch inherited a 12-game losing streak – now turned to a 14-game losing streak – and here the team is, trying to find a way to win. Last week, it had some fight in it. This week, well, it was over too early to tell.
““I told the team I said, if anybody thought this was gonna be easy, they’re out of their minds,” Fisch said when asked what his message to the team was after the game. “That’s not what this is, this is a process, that we’re trying to build something that’s really special here.”
Something akin to Arizona’s first year with Lute Olson’s first year in 1983-84 when he took over a downtrodden program and turned it into a powerhouse. Former UA star Steve Kerr, last night’s honorary captain, gave a speech to talk about just that: the turnaround.
“It’s a process, and these guys have the ability, no matter if they’re a senior or a freshman, to change the culture around here, the winning culture. And next week is another week and that’s the beautiful thing about football,” Fisch said. “You watch the game film, you make your corrections, and then we’d better have a great week of practice and come out with our hair on fire. We’re gonna absolutely have the best week of practice we can possibly put together, it’s gonna be hard, it’s going to be physical, and we’re going to get ourselves right, and then we’re going to come out with a mentality of getting off the schneid and winning a football game.”
Anything to get past the nation’s longest football losing streak – now at 14 games.
Now comes the question, who will start next week at quarterback. Gunner Cruz was ineffective all night. Will Plummer came in and threw his first touchdown of his career. Who starts? Does it matter?
“I don’t know. I’m not sure,” Fisch said when asked who will start. “We’ll look at the tape and figure it out, but right now I’m complete unsure of what we’re going to do at the quarterback position.”
So, here we are in week three of Arizona football. Yikes!