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What Kevin Sumlin said after Arizona’s loss to Washington

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Arizona v Washington Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The Arizona Wildcats lost their program-record ninth straight game Saturday, falling to the Washington Huskies 44-27 in Seattle—a game that was not nearly as close as the score indicates.

Arizona trailed 37-0 at the end of the third quarter before scoring 27 points in the fourth. The Wildcats drop to 0-2 heading into next week’s road game at UCLA.

Here’s what UA head coach Kevin Sumlin had to say after Saturday’s blowout. (The full interview can be watched HERE or at the bottom of this story.)

Sumlin on if getting blown out was surprising after being competitive against USC: “Of course. The way things started off, it kind of snowballed from there but there’s no doubt that this is a good football team we played tonight. But coming off last week, I don’t know if surprised is the word, it’s disappointing. We got to coach better. We got to handle situations on the road, all those things. That’s where we are. Obviously, we had some issues up front with Washington on both sides. They handled the line of scrimmage offensively and defensively and that really limited us offensively with their defensive line. The rush took us out of some things and they’re one of the better run defenses in this league, so they dominated the football game up front on both sides, which led to the results.”

On the message to the team after the game: “It was, we have to stick together as a team because from last week to this week, it’s the same result but a different football game. And so we have to go back to work as coaches and do a better job and keep looking at where we are in personnel and then come back to work on Monday for another opponent.”

On the slow start: “Obviously if you look at, particularly in the first half, we had some situations after they went for it on fourth and short and we still had them in third down situations. And I don’t have the stats here in front of me, but I think they were over 50 percent on third down conversions. I don’t know what we were—like three of maybe 12. That’s what happens with a team like this when they’re able to stay on the field and convert third downs and we were not, and that was really the difference early in the football game and as the game went on. And they were able to do that with a four-man rush. They brought blitzes a little bit later, but the third down conversions kept them on the field and chewed up the clock and we were not able to convert third downs really in the first half, really not until the end of the game.”

On the secondary’s struggles in coverage: “Well we had some new guys out there too. [Washington] got in those situations and got into some empty sets and some bunch sets and created some issues for us. We gotta go back and look at it, but obviously we weren’t able to get to the quarterback and gave him some time to find those spaces too. We got limited a little bit later, with we were down some [defensive backs]. And playing man to man, they got behind us and in the zone coverages on third down, they were working the middle of the field and getting open there. So we got to go back and take a look at it and what we’re doing. But certainly being down a couple DBs created some issues for us in the secondary.”

On quarterback Grant Gunnell being visibly frustrated: “I think everybody was frustrated in the first half, really for three quarters offensively because I thought our protection would be better. They teed off and got him to him even when he got the ball off and hit him and flushed him and some things that hadn’t really happened to him. And then be able to take the pressure off and run it, obviously we weren’t able to do that either. So he was frustrated, but he kept plugging in and hopefully that’s something in the growth process that he’s going to learn from.”

On Gunnell saying he was looking at the defensive line too much in the first three quarters: “That’s the situation, and the pocket was getting pushed back into. When we were in five-man protection, we started helping with the back a little bit later, which helped the protection. But with where he was and trying to push up in pocket sometimes and they were pushing it right back into his lap. So that’s an issue too. That’s the issue we had tonight with with our pass pro and then being able to take some pressure off by being able to run the ball. We didn’t do that either and Washington controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and when that happens, the results are never good.”

On if changes are coming to the offensive line: “I don’t know. I gotta look at it but obviously we had some issues up there, particularly in pass pro and being able to to run it. At that point, when you’re having those types of issues with sacks and hitting the quarterback and not being able to run the ball effectively, as we’ve done, it was time to give another guy a chance and that’s something we’ll look at. But obviously from one week to another, it was very, very different tonight. We gave some of the young guys on both sides of the ball a chance to go in there and obviously it was against their seconds, so you have to take that with a grain of salt too.”

On if the strong fourth quarter serves as a confidence booster heading into next week: “Yes and no. I mean, individually for some of those young guys that came in there and played, there’s some confidence that they can get out of it—some of the linemen that were in there and some of the young D lineman that got in really for the first time. But obviously there’s a reason why the backups are in there and so the most important thing is to come back to work on Monday with those guys that were playing early in the game and get their confidence to the level it was a week ago.”

Kevin Sumlin post Washington interview

Hear what Kevin Sumlin had to say about Arizona Football's surprising and "disappointing" loss to Washington

Posted by AZ Desert Swarm on Saturday, November 21, 2020