Deserving of more

December 7, 2017

Alsadek has a problem with the Pac-12, which unveiled its all-conference selections Tuesday. No Arizona player was selected to the Pac-12’s first or second team.

The Wildcats, who went 7-5 in the regular season, weren’t completely shut out. UA linebacker Colin Schooler won Pac-12 defensive freshman of the year, running back J.J. Taylor was co-offensive freshman of the year and six Wildcats were honorable-mention selections.

Still, UA coach Rich Rodriguez said he thought “several guys on offense” deserved recognition, mentioning Taylor, Alsadek, center Nathan Eldridge, quarterback Khalil Tate and receiver/returner Shun Brown.

“I thought those guys were worthy of it. But we won’t cry about it,” he said. “We won’t mention it. I may use it as motivation to get fired up for not just the next game but next season too. We’ve got a lot to prove.”

The most glaring omission came in the absence of Arizona offensive linemen. The Wildcats led the Pac-12 in scoring, rushing, total offense and fewest sacks allowed. Pro Football Focus selected Alsadek to its All-Pac-12 offensive first team.

“That’s a big disappointment because our offensive linemen are probably the best offensive linemen you could possibly have in the Pac-12,” Taylor said. “They might not be bigger than every offensive line you see playing, but I’m telling you, them boys work.”

Brown finished the season ranked second in the Pac-12 with 12.9 yards per punt return, scoring two touchdowns. Pac-12 coaches picked Utah’s Boobie Hobbs to the second team at punt returner over Brown. Hobbs had a 10.7 yard average and didn’t score a touchdown.

Brown said he felt like he deserved the second-team honor, but was more frustrated with the lack of offensive recognition.

“It just blows our mind, the level of disrespect,” Brown said.

Alsadek, though, was more irked about the omission of the quarterback he blocks for. Tate burst onto the scene in October with a record-breaking performance against Colorado, rushing for an FBS quarterback record 327 yards in a win. He finished the year with 1,353 rushing yards despite only playing extensively in seven and a half games, the half coming before leaving the ASU game early with an injury. He finished the regular season second in the conference with 135.3 rushing yards per game; he ran for 12 touchdowns.

“Khalil just set a bunch of records and doesn’t get any recognition?” Alsadek said. “That makes no sense. He missed one Pac-12 game (against Utah) and a half of a Pac-12 game (against ASU). Something just doesn’t seem right to me, but whatever.”