Rich Rodriguez has tried being patient. He has tried granting second (and third) chances.
But with the Arizona Wildcats' special teams struggles mounting, missed kick by muffed snap, the UA's first-year coach is pondering a new fourth-down philosophy. Asked this week whether he might consider going for it rather than run the risk of kicking, Rodriguez nodded.
The Wildcats are too bad in the red zone to risk more misses.
"If it's a situation where I'm deciding to kick or go for it? If it's a situation like (last) Saturday, I'm going to go for it," he said.
The Wildcats' kicking game reached a season low in last week's 49-0 loss to Oregon. Holder Kyle Dugandzic muffed a snap in the first quarter, and kicker John Bonano never got a chance to attempt the kick. Staked to another attempt in the second quarter, Bonano had his 31-yard kick blocked.
Saturday marked the latest in a series of struggles for the UA's kicking unit. Bonano is just 4 for 8 on field goal attempts this season; he missed a 25-yard field goal that would have defeated Toledo on the final play of regulation in Week 1. (The Wildcats went on to win in overtime.) Since the start of the 2011 season, Arizona has connected on just 14 of 26 field goal attempts.
The kicking woes underscore Arizona's struggles in the red zone. The Wildcats have scored on 16 of their 26 possessions inside the opponents' 20-yard line, with just 12 of them going for touchdowns. They've converted on just 3 of 10 fourth-down attempts.
Expect Arizona to try a handful of new things in the red zone starting tonight. The Wildcats have the height at wide receiver to attempt 1-on-1 jump-balls in the end zone, enough variety at running back to try new formations.
Most important, Arizona now has the justification to go for it on fourth down. Running back Ka'Deem Carey said he's in favor of taking more chances.
"I feel like every player, on fourth down, no matter what the situation, wants to go for it," he said.
"I have faith in our kicker out there. We've just got to get it going. What he does best, he needs to key on it and focus in on making them."
The last time
Sloppy, sluggish loss in Corvallis proved last nail in coffin for Stoops
Date: Oct. 8, 2011
What went down: Sean Mannion threw for 267 yards, and Oregon State forced four Arizona turnovers on the way to a 37-27 win in Corvallis. The sloppy, sluggish game was Mike Stoops' last as Arizona's coach; he was fired two days later.
How it read: Arizona's performance at Reser Stadium put Stoops squarely on the hot seat. Star columnist Greg Hansen wrote:
"The last half of Arizona's schedule now becomes a vigil, a stakeout, really, with coldblooded fans waiting for the ax to fall.
"The attention turns not to UCLA or Arizona State, but to director of athletics Greg Byrne, whose duty is perceived to be that of delivering Stoops' job, or that of special teams coach Jeff Hammerschmidt, to the angry masses."
Turning point: The Beavers scored 27 points in the second quarter, 13 of them coming in the final 2 minutes 26 seconds. Trevor Romaine hit two field goals, one coming at the gun, and Joe Halahuni caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from Mannion.
Stats that matter: Arizona outgained the Beavers 431 yards to 408, but was a combined 4 for 13 on third and fourth downs. UA receiver Juron Criner caught two passes for 16 yards before leaving with a knee injury. The Beavers were led by Mannion and Sunnyside High School product Jovan Stevenson, who ran for a career-high 99 yards on 17 carries.
It's history: The Beavers snapped a six-game losing streak dating to the 2010 season with the win, while Arizona's losing streak against FCS schools extended to 10 games.
What's in a name?
OSU linebacker creates his own identity crisis
What's in a name?
For Oregon State's Feti Taumoepeau, plenty.
The Beavers senior linebacker changed his surname this season to honor his mother, Ofa; Taumoepeau is her maiden name.
It's the latest in a confusing chapter for the OSU standout.
For the first three years of his college career, Taumoepeau was known as Kevin 'Unga and, later, Feti 'Unga. His twin brother, Uani, plays at BYU after starting his career with Feti at Oregon State. Uani, who also goes by Devin, will stick with the 'Unga last name this season.
The twins, both 24, are two of nine children born to Chris and Ofa 'Unga. The rest of their names: Paul (a former ASU football player), Sioeli, Baybee Lani, Metuisela, Ami, Alani and Christopher.
Pac-12 Networks analyst
Parker just as apt to talk about apps as football games
Glenn Parker spends the early part of his weeks shuttling from whatever city he's in to the Pac-12 Networks' Bay Area studios.
Tonight, Parker's home - and happy.
The former Arizona Wildcats offensive lineman (1988-89) and 12-year NFL veteran will serve as color analyst for tonight's game between the UA and Oregon State. Kevin Calabro will call the game for the Pac-12 Networks, with Ryan Nece working the sidelines.
The Star talked to Parker, 46, about his iPhone, travel and two of his passions - football and wine. Here's what he said:
Best part about calling Arizona games: "Sleeping in my own bed and seeing my kids." Parker and his wife have four children between 10 and 17 years old.
Road warrior: Parker's on the road "60 or 70 - or maybe more" days a year for television and other duties. He travels light, but can't live without his iPhone 4S. "I'm looking to upgrade, but it'll be another year or so," he said.
Favorite app: Flipboard. "It takes all the things that you're interested in - including social media - and turns it into a magazine format. It's the coolest freaking thing," he said.
Last game attended as a fan: Last year, when Arizona beat UCLA. Parker barely sat still. "I don't do well in my seat. I talked to people in the suites, roamed the press box," he said. "I don't do well as a fan."
To beat Oregon State, Arizona must … "beat Oregon State's corners - that means in the run game and in the pass game. Their corners are phenomenal."
The right guy: Parker said he's been impressed with first-year coach Rich Rodriguez. "He was exactly what the town needed as a coach, in the way he addressed the media, talked to the fans, talked to the kids. He talks to the kids in a tough tone, does things the right way. At the same time, he's open to you in the media," he said. "There are people who hate, but they hate because he left (past jobs). I've had a lot of jobs; maybe that means people hate me, too."
Favorite place (other than Arizona) to see a game: Autzen Stadium is an obvious choice, and Utah and Washington State have their charms, Parker said, but the University of Montana is sneaky-good. "It's a small stadium, but they pack it," he said. "The town's there. It doesn't have a feeling of a corporate event; it has the feeling of a town event. Go watch Montana-Montana State in Missoula."
That said … "I like every place I go," Parker said. "I get paid to watch a football game, and explain it the best I can. A lot of people want the analyst to be a cheerleader. I'm not paid to be a cheerleader."
The best bottle of wine he's had lately: "The other night, the production crew and I had about six really good bottles of wine. The '86 Niebaum Coppola Rubicon was drinking great for its age."
Oregon State at Arizona • 7 p.m. • Pac-12 Arizona • 1290-AM, 107.5-FM, 990-AM (Spanish)
Arizona vs. Oregon State, by the numbers
Arizona's record against Oregon State from 1966 to 1998
The Wildcats' record against the Beavers since 1998
Consecutive wins by Oregon State at Arizona Stadium
OSU's average margin of victory during its five-game winning streak in Tucson
Red alert - or red herring?
Arizona ranks among the nation's worst teams when it comes to scoring in the end zone. However, struggles inside the 20 don't necessarily mean lack of success. Here's a look at the bottom eight teams:
Red Zone trips Scores RZ TDs
113. Arizona (3-1) 26 16 (62 percent) 12
114t. Navy (1-2) 10 6 (60 percent) 3
Tulane (0-3) 5 3 (60 percent) 1
116. Utah (2-2) 12 7 (58 percent) 7
117. TCU (3-0) 16 9 (56 percent) 6
118. Boise State (2-1) 12 6 (50 percent) 3
119. Bowling Green (1-3) 14 6 (43 percent) 5
120. Florida Int'l (1-3) 23 8 (35 percent) 7