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Arizona football hoping to avoid complacency during bye week

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Arizona doesn’t have a game this weekend, but that doesn’t mean the Wildcats have the week off. Not if they want to carry over the momentum from the blowout win at Washington State over to the stretch run of the regular season.

“We’re not going to take too much time off, for that exact reason,” UA coach Jedd Fisch said Monday. “We’re going to practice harder, work harder, and see how good we can be.”

Fisch said the team will have regular practices the next three days, including in full pads on Wednesday, then lift on Thursday before the players get rare back-to-back days off. Everyone will return to the field on Sunday to prepare for the Oct. 28 home game against No. 12 Oregon State, the fourth consecutive ranked opponent.

“We believe that we’re sitting in a position where we got to play good a week from Saturday,” Fisch said. “We’ll give the players two days off, but they were in here yesterday getting treatment. They were in here today lifting at 6am, 8am, 10am, depending on the groups. We’re practicing each day, they’ll be lifting again on Thursday. And then they could watch football on Saturday and hopefully get hungry to go play. And then we come out Sunday in fulls pads. We’re not going to be complacent in anything. This is the time that we can see how good we can be.”

Arizona hasn’t won its post-bye game since 2017, which was also the last season it was bowl-eligible. The Wildcats need to win two of the remaining five games on the schedule to make that happen, and nearly every bowl projection includes them in one of the 40-plus postseason contests.

  • Athlon: LA Bowl (Dec. 16) vs. Air Force
  • CBS: Independence Bowl (Dec. 16; Shreveport, La.) vs. UCF
  • ESPN: LA Bowl vs. Wyoming OR Independence Bowl vs. Texas Tech
  • 247 Sports: Birmingham Bowl (Dec. 23) vs. Boston College
  • Action Network: Sun Bowl (Dec. 29; El Paso) vs. Georgia Tech

Those projections are all likely based on the assumption Arizona finishes at 6-6 or maybe 7-5. Beat OSU and it could see itself linked to more high-profile bowls with Pac-12 ties, such as the Las Vegas (Dec. 23 vs. SEC), Holiday (Dec. 27 vs. ACC) and Alamo (Dec. 28 vs. Big 12).

While Arizona’s players will have an extended break toward the end of this week, the coaching staff won’t. Fisch said all coaches who are allowed to recruit will be at high school games on Thursday and Friday, with several heading “into Big 12 country” ahead of the program’s move to that conference next season.

Fisch said he and others will be on the West Coast, though Friday night he’ll be back in town (likely right up the road at Salpointe Catholic, which hosts Phoenix Mountain Pointe in a game filled with notable in-state prospects).

“You will see me at a high school game on Friday night in Tucson,” Fisch said, adding a knowing wink afterward.