Wildcats wearing down from up-tempo style

Associated Press Modified: October 3, 2012 at 5:18 pm •  Published: October 3, 2012
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TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona used its go-all-the-time tempo to wear opponents down and open the season with three straight wins.

After two losses and no letup in pace, it's the Wildcats who are starting to wear down a little.

"As you can imagine, playing five straight games and playing a lot of plays, our guys are a little beat up," Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said.

Arizona (3-2, 0-2 Pac-12) has been one of the fastest-snapping teams in the country, averaging 88 plays per game, right behind Marshall for most in the nation.

The pace has been good at keeping opposing defenses off-balance; the Wildcats are 10th nationally with 538 yards of offense per game.

It's also taken a toll.

Arizona opened the season playing against four straight up-tempo opponents — the first two games featured an eye-popping 182 plays each — and Oregon State didn't exactly bog the game down last Saturday.

The problem isn't keeping up. After struggling with conditioning when Rodriguez first arrived, the Wildcats are in pretty good shape.

They're just not very deep, particularly on defense. Without much help, the starters and key backups are on the field for a lot more plays, maybe more than anyone else in the country.

From the first game of the season, Rodriguez has lamented the amount of time his defense has clocked, which figures to be a continuing problem for the rest of the season.

More time on the field means more chances to get injured or worn down, which is already starting to happen.

"We aren't a very deep team, We aren't very experienced in many positions," Rodriguez said. "Any injury certainly hurts just like a lot of teams are experiencing as well. We are barreling through and hopefully it will be a good week for the guys. If it's not and we have guys who can't play, we will put the next guy in and move on."

One player who has had it particularly rough is quarterback Matt Scott.

One of the fifth-year senior's best attributes is his ability to run, but that also puts him in position to take plenty of punishment. And with an offensive line that's been shaky at times this season, he's taken plenty — whether he runs it or not.



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