Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 10/19/12
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Arizona cornerback Shaquille Richardson hears the whispers. He knows the criticism swirling around the UA defense. He knows there are critics to his game, too. They come with the territory. In the cornerback business, there's no room for bad beats, and there have been a few this year for both the Wildcats defense as a whole and Richardson individually. "Theres been a lot of stuff, good and bad," Richardson said of the fans chatter. "I dont focus on it. But Ive heard a lot." Richardson understands hes run hot and cold from game to game. He also wants everyone to know he and the team are doing all they can to get better. More tape review. More observation and analysis. More preparation. He also knows that a lot of the game is measured and dissected between the ears. Mental toughness is paramount; a lack of it can be devastating. "Ive been pretty good about that, but then I learned that I still have progress to make," said Richardson, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound junior. Hes been tested every game, although he said the Oklahoma State game was his toughest. "You learn how to handle the bad and try to minimize it," he said. "You try not to let more bad happen." Bad has happened at times, though, especially in the past few weeks. Richardson has given up more than his share, as has the entire defense. Arizona is now 114th in passing defense nationally, giving up 297 yards a game. "Shaq has been OK," Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said. "... I dont think anyone on defense has been great. I think we've had some guys who have been pretty good at times, and Shaq has got a lot of ability. He just needs to play with confidence all the time. Hes a talented guy, and its important to him." Itll have to be with Washington, which Rodriguez called one of the "most athletic teams in our league," bringing in star wideout Kasen Williams, quarterback Keith Price and a big tight end in Austin Seferian. "Im going to treat them like they are best team in the world," Richardson said. "A lot of it has to do with preparation, mentally and physically." As a team, the physical part has stilted some of UA's progress. The offensive line has been hit hard by injuries, and it's unclear whether some of the afflicted -- specifically center Kyle Quinn and guard Trace Biskin -- will be able to play Saturday. The two are listed as questionable; they are among seven players listed as either questionable or out despite coming off a bye week. "I think it has helped some," Rodriguez said of the week off to get his team healthy. "I think the guys that were just sore and beat up -- that didnt keep them from practicing -- feel a lot better. The guys that were out, it may be a couple of days before we know if theyll be back. Some of them we know wont be back this week." The bigger question is whether Arizona will be back in the win column this week. Three straight losses -- two in the final moments -- have the Wildcats sitting at 3-3 but with the knowledge that a play or two in each game could have them at 5-1 entering the back end of the schedule. "It's not a clean slate as much as it is the second half," Rodriguez said. "The first half is over. There were some good and some bad (moments), and now we're in the second half. "Every conference game is really important. Our guys understand that."
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: K-State players storm student section after big win

Tony Dungy coaches his way into Canton

Top eight takeaways from NFL Honors awards

Report: Austin Rivers out 4-6 weeks with broken hand

Brett Favre Hall of Fame discussion took less than 10 seconds

WATCH: Pop wishes Kobe well in heartfelt message


Eric Berry named NFL Comeback Player of the Year

Cam Newton to be named NFL MVP

Ezekiel Elliott hung out with Jim Brown

Rickie Fowler taunted by fans over his ex-girlfriend

Roger Goodell speaks about future of Pro Bowl in annual address

Mike Krzyzewski provides an update on his health

Another star confirmed for Super Bowl 50 halftime show

WATCH: Wayne Simmonds loses his cool, earns match penalty

Winners and losers from 2016 Hall of Fame vote

Brett Favre, Tony Dungy headline Hall of Fame Class of 2016

Terrell Owens says he was not elected to Hall of Fame

Bruins prospect hit in throat with puck, taken to hospital

WATCH: Mavs rookie laughed at for trash talking Spurs bench

Norris Cole has No. 30 retired with LeBron James, New Orleans Pelicans in attendance

Three keys to victory for the Broncos in Super Bowl 50

Torrey Smith: ‘This is probably the best offense’ for Kaepernick

Byron Scott thought D’Angelo Russell would be further along

Under-the-radar Super Bowl 50 matchups

Is Tim Lincecum's run with the San Francisco Giants done?

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker