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About that fresh start ...

Mike Stoops apparently had lost the fun. That's what Greg Hansen thinks.

It's a totally valid guess, if not absolutely correct. The Arizona Wildcats just were missing something, almost as if they were trying TOO, TOO hard for their embattled head coach. Much of the reaction to losing Stoops has been negative; players loved playing for Stoops because he was that general who'd do anything for his troops.

Maybe it was almost to a fault. Stoops was always prepared, always working. But from much of what interim coach Tim Kish and Arizona AD Greg Byrne have said, players need to get back to having fun.

Is it possible to be such a workaholic that football became too job-like, too little appreciated?


It was clear that players were thinking too much. Screw up and you get your head chewed off. Even Stoops himself admitted his players were struggling, especially on defense, because they were reacting too slowly.

As my high school's basketball coach said, being a good athlete isn't about reaction; it's about knowing what to do so well that doing the right thing came naturally.

That was Arizona's problem. Now, we'll see if they can look like they're having fun once again.

With a really crummy UCLA team on deck for Thursday's nationally televised game, the Wildcats sure could turn around the season, at least as far as not looking like the bottom of the barrel team they've been through the first half of the year.

Here we go. Let's see what this team is made of when they've got nothing to lose and the pressure -- much of which came from a detail-oriented head coach (that probably should stick to being a defensive coordinator) -- is gone.