Arizona Football fans, who are we blaming now?

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 21: Head Coach Kevin Sumlin of the Arizona Wildcats looks on in the fourth quarter against the Washington Huskies at Husky Stadium on November 21, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 21: Head Coach Kevin Sumlin of the Arizona Wildcats looks on in the fourth quarter against the Washington Huskies at Husky Stadium on November 21, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

Arizona Football is now 0-2 to start the year, and despite the struggles thus far, we really shouldn’t be all that surprised to see the team stumbling out the gates.

After all the torment and criticisms we received for supporting Khalil Tate last year, it didn’t stop Arizona Football fans from blaming him for the teams’ short coming last season.

So as we all witnessed the teams’ struggles offensively yesterday, we felt it was okay to point out, once again, that it is not the Quarterbacks fault we have been losing games. Nor can the nine-game losing streak be squarely placed on the shoulders of one player.

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As we all saw, Tate was last years’ starting quarterback for most of the games, except for a few, including the Senior Night. That game was a travesty, and it was not lost on the experienced players who have since transferred out of the program.

He wasn’t a cancer in the locker room, he threw the ball away just like our star Grant Gunnell when he could. He got sacked just like Gunnell, he suffered with the same playbook just like Gunnell does now. The same type of play calling that made no sense last season is still around this season.

With the offense virtually meant for a player like Gunnell, he has not been given an offense or defense that can win games. Period. That’s not a dig on the players, they are doing the best they can and maybe it worked a bit against USC, but it is still unimaginative and other coaches have figured out how to defend against it. It was clear there was hardly any protection or Gunnell and I have never seen so much heartache from an Arizona QB.

Even Anu Solomon opted to sit near the ZonaZoo wall and mope when he was pulled, but while playing you couldn’t see the pain in his eyes like you could with Gunnell. All that Tate felt last season you are seeing in Gunnell’s face this season. They are just two different people who show their feelings differently.

Tate decided he wasn’t going to take the blame for the state of the program, as he knew what it could be, he knew what it felt like to win under Rich Rodriguez. Rodriguez believed in Tate, listened to him and gave him a chance to run the offense with his guidance, they were a team.

Sumlin seems to just chew gum and talk to players a little here and there. After a bad series, Tate would go sit on the bench and discuss with the other QBs what was going on, you seldom saw Mazzone sit with him.

Well, Gunnell does the same thing, and Mazzone also not sitting with him. I hated to see the defeated look on his face, he is a great player with a ton of potential, but he has been dealt a lousy hand. That goes for the entire team. The new coaching staff is trying their best, but you just cannot win when the majority of your experience and award nominated players opt to go play for West Virginia, Texas Tech, Hawaii, etc.

Remeber, Sumlin chased off Michael Eletise, the No. 1 recruit out of Hawaii when Rich Rod recruited him. Rodriguez played him and he came through mentored by Jacob Alsadek, they helped Tate break records. Alsadek was very frank with us and explained that it wasn’t easy to protect Tate but he, as captain, held his teammates accountable and they found a way.

Eletise played the entire game last night against Boise State, and man oh man could Arizona have used his skills last night. However, Sumlin barely played him in his red-shirt sophomore season, and instead played true freshmen, leaving their QBs vulnerable with little possibility to be successful.

Last week against USC, Gunnell looked a lot like two-way Tate a bit. But couldn’t find time to do much against the Washington Huskies on Saturday. It takes a whole team to win games, a whole team with coaches that help the players win the game.

Rodriguez knows how to get every drop out of his players, and pushes them to play “All 60 minutes.” Sumlin from all appearances does not.

Rodriguez was on the sidelines integral to every play and every player, he didn’t delegate that to his assistant coaches. You don’t see the same love of the game with Sumlin. Rodriguez always took the blame for losses and didn’t throw his players under the bus, Sumlin seems to do the opposite.

Instead of seething this season, let’s just celebrate each player and each play that shows us hope for the future. When they shine, let them know you support them. You can’t blame the players this year, they aren’t properly prepared for the games and it’s obvious. They want to win, they want to play well, they work extremely hard to play for the fans and to get to this level.

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Celebrate the fact that Gunnell and the team showed fight in the fourth quarter, scoring three touchdowns. Celebrate that even without a non-conference schedule to prepare for the season, the team doesn’t give up. Celebrate that there is a football season. And when this year is over, we can go search for a solution to the issues this coaching staff and players are facing this season.