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Monday, October 27, 2003
Wildcats' losing ways bother coach

ESPN

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Losing can become a habit, and that concerns Arizona interim coach Mike Hankwitz.

Just when the Wildcats (1-7) appeared to be making headway, they flopped in a 42-14 loss at California last week for their seventh straight defeat.

"I told (the players) we can't accept it," Hankwitz said. "If we accept a poor performance like that, then we will continue to tolerate losing. Until we get enough guys to say, 'We are tired of that, I am ready,' then we are not going to change.

"We have enough good people on the team who are getting tired of it and are trying to do something about it."

Arizona had three-point losses in two of its three previous games, including matchups with unbeaten TCU and Pac-10 leader UCLA.

The Wildcats then had a week off. But they still allowed Cal to rush for 327 yards and six touchdowns on the way to an 0-4 start in conference play.

"We did not attack the line of scrimmage like we are capable of," Hankwitz said. "I thought we made great progress. I was pleased with our front in the UCLA game. In this game we were not as aggressive as we had been. We were not fundamentally sound."

The run defense faces another test this week at Oregon State, whose Steven Jackson is fourth in the country with a 126-yard-a-game average.

And Arizona's offense continues to struggle -- the Wildcats are 111th in scoring, averaging 16 points per game with quarterbacks who have thrown 17 interceptions.

Only Army, with 19 picks, has more.

The Wildcats running game has improved since Hankwitz replaced John Mackovic on Sept. 28, mostly because of the competition between Clarence Farmer, who spent most of his career in Mackovic's doghouse, and Mike Bell.

Farmer gaining 122 yards on 25 carries two weeks ago against UCLA, and Bell had 182 yards on 15 carries against the Golden Bears. Farmer did not start the last game because of a breach of team rules, but got in during the second quarter and is expected to play against the Beavers.