Tuesday, November 4, 2003

Bearcats try to get season back on track


Rhode Island next for struggling team

By Bill Koch
The Cincinnati Enquirer

After a 3-0 start, including a victory at West Virginia, there seemed to be no limit to what this Cincinnati Bearcats team could achieve. A UC player even talked about running the table.

But with four losses in their last five games, the Bearcats (4-4) are out of the running for a second straight C-USA championship. A bowl game is a remote possibility.

The Bearcats, whose only win during this span is over winless Army, play Division I-AA Rhode Island on Saturday afternoon at Nippert Stadium. The Rams (3-6) have lost four straight.

"My role now is to make sure the players know they're OK, that they're still good players," Minter said Monday. "I know they're frustrated. We're all frustrated. It's a matter of hanging together."

Originally, UC was scheduled to play East Carolina this week, but ESPN requested that game be moved to Labor Day.

The Bearcats were to open their season against Western Kentucky. When the Hilltoppers were unable to move their game to this week, UC had to fill the date and came up with Rhode Island.

Minter and his players are trying to figure out how this season deteriorated so quickly.

"I said before the season started that we're not near as talented as we were last year," Minter said, "but we might have a better team with better chemistry, better player-coach relationship, better work ethic, and I think all that's been true. We have made some critical errors, and we're not good enough to constantly overcome them."

The offense has fallen off dramatically from last year. Through eight games in 2002, the Bearcats averaged 419 yards of total offense, 278 through the air. This year, they're averaging 368 yards, 190 passing.

"Certain guys have not stepped up the way we anticipated and we have to adjust on the run a little bit," Minter said.

UC fans can look for an offense that relies heavily on running the football, despite the presence of Gino Guidugli, statistically the best quarterback in school history. "We'll maybe emphasize the run, the run action, use a conservative approach a little bit more," Minter said. "It might not be what I would ultimately desire or you would prefer us to do because we've got a great quarterback, but we can only do what our kids can execute."

BURNS OK: Offensive coordinator Rusty Burns, hospitalized Friday before the South Florida game after complaining of discomfort, was scheduled to return to Cincinnati Monday night.

---

E-mail bkoch@enquirer.com




U.C. BEARCATS
Big East a big leap for UC
What do you think about UC joining the Big East?
Bearcats try to get season back on track

XAVIER MUSKIES
Sato intent on being Muskies' driving force

REDS/BASEBALL
Cubs lead off Reds' 2004 schedule
Complete schedule
Astros' Wagner traded to Phils

BENGALS/NFL
Bad habits bite Bengals
Notes: Burris' concussion second of season
Bucs, Raiders are among mighty clubs to fall in '03
Patriots 30, Broncos 26
Holcomb in, Green out for Browns

PREP SPORTS
Elder game moved to Yager
MND star Thomas to play at UConn
Brackman picks NC State, where he'll play two sports
Perfect Conner champion
West seniors get second shot

OTHER COLLEGE SPORTS
Big MAC battle goes primetime
EMU fires Woodruff as coach
Tubby hardly vengeful toward Team Nike

ON THE AIR
Sports on TV, radio

Mail This Story (Click here) Send this story to a friend.

 
NEXT GAME
vs. South Florida (3-4)
• 1:00 p.m. Sat. Nov. 20
• Nippert Stadium
• Radio: WLW-AM 700

FOOTBALL

Paterno Won't Coach Penn St.-Temple Game

Paterno Won't Go to Penn St.-Temple Game

Spurrier Shadow Looms Large in Florida

No. 15 Rutgers Bracing for Historic Game

Hurricanes Stunned by Teammate's Murder

THE BIG EAST
Big East logo
UC joins Big East
• A special section of complete coverage, as the UC Bearcats join one of the nation's elite sports conferences.

MEN'S BASKETBALL

Terps Sign Gary Williams Through 2010-11

Bob Knight Approaches Winning Milestone

Buckeyes' Oden Content to Wait for NBA

Larranaga Enjoy Spoils of Final Four Run

Hansbrough Leads AP's All-America Team

AP's Preseason All-America Team

Gators Runaway Preseason No. 1 in Poll

Gators Return Starters to Defend Title

Texas Tech's Jackson Returns to Practice

Sutton Released From Hospital in Okla.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

Paris Headlines AP's All-America Team

ACC New Powerhouse in Women's Basketball

Maryland Tops AP Women's Basketball Poll