Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 10/3/11
TUCSON Yes, Arizona football coach Mike Stoops said, this has been one of the more frustrating times of his coaching career. Then again, going 0-4 in a four-game stretch is a good reason to feel the way he does. "It's pretty frustrating in a lot of different ways," Stoops said at this weekly press conference. "It's been tough these are good teams, they're good offensive teams, there's a balance. "We're probably not as bad as we've played, but we've been exposed in games where offenses have prevailed and been the strengths of these teams." Wasn't it just a month ago when Stoops half jokingly said playing against the like of Oklahoma State might expose on the national stage his team rather than give it exposure? Well, he was right. There's plenty to be concerned with as the Cats (1-4) get ready for Oregon State this week in Corvallis, Ore. Outside of scoring 41 points last Saturday against USC, there's been little to be proud of. After each loss in the last month, Stoops has been asked about the team's psyche. This time it was more like: does this team have to re-learn how to win? Stoops said, in his unorthodox way, well kind of. "Losing creates doubt and certainly you can't win if you have doubt and lack of belief and all the things you need to win," Stoops said. "There's a physical part of it, it's more important mentally to understand how to play this game, that's something we need to get back to." And that comes from the head coach, he admitted, as well as the individual players. "For whatever reason," Stoops said, "we're not carrying over some things defensively to Saturday. That becomes an individual thing as well. All of us collectively we need to put our players in better positions and get them to do things they can do, there's apprehension and indecision, part of that is coaching too." Kicking game problems Arizona has used two kickers so far this season and it is still Alex Zendejas' job to lose. That despite missing two extra-points on Saturday. One Zendeja's kicks was blocked, a problem has had with many of his kicks. Stoops said the kicking game has been disappointing. Junior college transfer Jaime Salazar started the season and proved to be very inconsistent. He was 1 for 4 on field goals. "We just need guys to step up and make the normal kicks for us, not do anything out of the ordinary," Stoops said. " just be good and make the ones we're capable of making, that'll help us." Stoops said John Bonano, who does Arizona's kickoffs is capable of kicking extra points and field goals, but, he too, struggles with accuracy and consistency. "He continues to get better," Stoops said. Then in the same breath half jokingly that he's not opposed to setting up an open tryout "before long." Washington out Stoops announced defensive lineman Justin Washington has had minor surgery on a knee and will probably be out until Arizona faces UCLA on Oct. 20. Washington, a 6-foot-2, 275 pound sophomore, hasn't lived up to his freshman year accolades. He was a College Football News first team all-American but has just 10 total tackles in four games. Last week, Stoops said Washington had been having "stomach" problems and has lost weight. And that he wasn't playing up to par. Washington had lost his starting job recently. "(The injury) could have been (hindering him)," Stoops said. "I think it was bothering him a little bit, just wasn't full strength where it needed to be." Hall and Fischer update Stoops initially said he wasn't sure if junior defensive back Adam Hall or junior linebacker Jake Fischer would be available this week. Over the last couple of weeks, Stoops said Hall could possibly be available the first week of October and Fischer may be ready by mid October. Both suffered ACL knee injuries in the spring. Arizona's defense desperately needs the veterans in light of opponents shredding the defense. "Hopefully we can get them back and in the mix and bring some more aggression and experience to the mix," Stoops said. "Those are guys we miss, because they're an important part of our defense, in the middle of everything (maybe they can) give us some punch with our defense."
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