Remember how we used to poke fun at Mike Stoops? The guy who scored a big upset in November (beating UCLA, Cal and Oregon three years straight), but otherwise did nothing of consequence? The guy whose teams screwed the Pac-10 out of God knows how many BCS at-large bids? The guy who lost to New Mexico two years in a row?
Well, now he's four wins away from Pasadena. Where's the Mike Stoops we've come to know and love?
How do Arizona fans feel about their coach, their team, and their conference title chances? We sat down with AZ Desert Swarm, Arizona's SBN blog, and asked him how confident he feels in his team going into the showdown in Berkeley tomorrow. (Check out our interview with them over at their site!)
1) Do you think Arizona will make the Rose Bowl this year??
I think that Arizona has a good shot. We're favored against Cal, and will get to face Oregon at home where we have won 11 in a row dating back to 2007. After watching USC play the last couple of weeks, I believe that it is more than likely that we will be favored in that game and will come out with a win. Long Answer.
Short Answer. Yes. I think we will make the Rose Bowl.
2) Should Nick Foles scare the crap out of me the way his passing stats are doing? He seems like the perfect quarterback for the Airraid.
I have been hoping since July that Foles would be the starter for the Cats. The receiving corps that he has was made for him. Matt Scott's style of offense did not gel with the rest of the team. Foles on the other hand is a sure handed smart QB who rarely makes a mistake. He is tall enough to stand in the pocket and pick you apart if you don't get to him. He is also elusive (enough) to side step pressure and allow his receivers to get open on come back or hot routes during blitzes. I bet your defensive coordinator doesn't get much sleep this week watching our film. Our running game compliments Foles and we are hopeful to get our star Nic Grigsby back for the Cal game.
3) Mike Stoops has been known for dropping total headscratchers. Are you living in mortal fear that the other shoe's about to drop?
Not really. I love the way Stoops coaches. Living in Austin, Texas, there was always talk about the style of "Big Game Bob" Stoops and his aggressive coaching style. Now that Arizona has Stoops, I love that style of coaching. Case in point: 4-2 on the Iowa 23 yard line in the 2nd quarter with the Cats trailing 14-10. Stoops does a fake FG. Unfortunately, Keenyn Crier isn't a running back and forgot to follow his blockers. Should have been a first down and may have changed the game in Arizona's favor. I loved it.
4)Who is the #1 player on D that Cal fans should worry about?
Ricky Elmore. This guy is a beast. He has 28 tackles on the year but has 7.5 sacks and applies pressure like crazy. He also has a crazy mullet. Your tackles better be ready for him or it's going to be a long day.
5)Who would you like to punch in the face and why?
Each and every person that writes a check at the grocery store. No exceptions.
6. Early on, it seemed like Mike Stoops was about two steps from getting canned at Arizona. For now, at least, it looks like he's got the Wildcats going in the right direction. Is Stoops the Younger in Tucson for the long haul?
I think after this latest run and the recruiting class he put together in 2009, Stoops is here to stay. Unfortunately, as college football goes, he will always be looking for a bigger stage until he finds the right fit. I am not 100% convinced that Stoops will stay in Arizona. I just believe that he will not get fired. He is slowly building a reputable program that is a lot of fun to watch and is starting to compete at the top of the Pac-10 again. We all hope that this is his home for a long time.