Stoops Didn't Expect 'Cats Defensive Woes

Monday, September 17th 2007, 9:46 pm
By: News On 6

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) _ Defense was supposed to be a strength and offense a work in progress for Arizona this season.

It hasn't turned out that way. Despite 10 returning starters, the Wildcats' defense has struggled mightily. Arizona allowed Donovan Porterie to throw for 327 yards in a 29-27 home loss to New Mexico Saturday night.

It was only New Mexico's second victory ever of a Pac-10 team in 11 tries.

``We have not played as well as we did last year defensively,'' Stoops said on Monday. ``That is somewhat perplexing to me, why we are not playing as well. That is probably the biggest aspect we have to get right. I think we are going to move the football and score some points.''

Getting anything right will be a problem on Saturday, when the Wildcats (1-2) go to Berkeley to face No. 6 California (3-0). The Bears are averaging 40 points and 436 yards per game.

The spread offense of new coordinator Sonny Dykes was effective against New Mexico, especially through the air. Willie Tuitama passed for 446 yards, second-most in school history.

The Wildcats had five scoring drives, none lasted more than three minutes.

Arizona's problems offensively over the past two weeks have come in the red zone. The Wildcats have scored on only 7 of 11 possessions inside the 20 this year.

``The missed opportunities are something we can't do no matter how well we move the football,'' Stoops said.

That problem shrinks in comparison to the defensive woes. Stoops was supposed to bring a strong defensive mind set when he took the Arizona job four seasons ago. After all, he had been co-defensive coordinator on his brother Bob's staff at Oklahoma.

``We have to become a more productive defense,'' Stoops said. ``We are capable of it.''