Three key fixes for Arizona (i.e. tackling is important)

TUCSON, AZ - SEPTEMBER 24: Runningback LaMichael James #21 of the Oregon Ducks is tackled by cornerback Shaquille Richardson #5 of the Arizona Wildcats during the college football game at Arizona Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona. The Ducks defeated the Wildcats 56-31. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

With an upcoming schedule that is challenging to winnable, opposed to down-right hard, the Arizona Wildcats still have time to right the ship. USC is on deck, and though Marc Tyler is probably going to run for 300 yards on Arizona, there's a couple of ideas in my brilliant football mind to prevent the Trojans from running away with the game.

After Arizona put up solid offensive numbers once against AND punched the ball into the end zone much better than its two previous contests, it all starts with the defense.

Safety Robert Golden was apparently frustrated after Saturday's 56-31 loss to the Oregon Ducks. The issue, according to secondary coach Ryan Walters?

Missed tackles, not positioning, killed Arizona.

"A big thing was just missed tackles," Walters said. "That's where his frustration came. (Golden) was in the right spot all the time, just missed tackles. We've got to move on and focus on USC."

Whether Oregon running back LaMichael James was covered vegetable oil or not, the Wildcats just couldn't wrap him up even when they were in the position to do so.

Despite injuries in the secondary, the unit hasn't played especially poorly aside from facing the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Of course, guys like Andrew Luck are going to get their yardage, and much more pressure has been applied to the Wildcats because of other pieces in the defense.

Namely, I'm talking the front seven.

Sophomore Justin Washington, a freshman All-American, has struggled this season after losing weight in the offseason and 

just not looking the same, as Anthony Gimino wrote in the Tucson Citizen. Freshman Saneila Fuimaono, a 306-pound freshman, could jump in front of Washington for the starting spot.

 


Either way, Walters said he doesn't view the lack of defensive pressure as being an excuse for any quarterback, whether that be Darron Thomas or Matt Barkley, to rack up yardage against the Wildcats.

 

"You can't pay attention to that. DBs have got to do their job and that's cover," Walters said.

Finally, there's the whole "80 percent of the game is mental, 20 percent is physical" deal. If that's the case, the Wildcats must somehow overlook the fact they have lost to eight straight FBS opponents. And yikes, that doesn't sound like an easy thing to do.

However, Walters said the Wildcats are remaining mentally strong.

Practice on Monday was upbeat, extended and positive.

"I thought it was good," Walters said. "Guys are eager to get back out here and nobody wants to leave a last game like that. They were eager to get out and run around. I thought we looked really good today. If we practice like we did today everyday, we should be fine going into the last Pac-12 stretch of the season."

How do you think the Wildcats will play against USC in Los Angeles?

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