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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “New look, same intensity for Holmes”

    Replacing his notorious mohawk with dyed bright red hair, Louis Holmes is back for his senior season as the anchor of the Arizona defensive line.

    The 6-foot-6, 270-pound Holmes earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors after leading the Wildcats last season with four sacks, two forced fumbles and 36 tackles in his first season after transferring from Scottsdale Community College.

    Despite his strong debut, Holmes thinks he barely scratched the surface and is ready to bring a lot more intensity to his game.

    “”I’m just trying to improve all across the board,”” he said. “”I’m gonna try to make more plays and just have fun.””

    Holmes is the nucleus of a veteran defensive line that returns probable senior starters Yaniv Barnett and Lionel Dotson, and junior defensive end Johnathan Turner.

    The unit played a big part in last year’s defensive attack, and defensive coordinator Mark Stoops said expectations are even higher for 2007, with Holmes being the main attraction.

    “”Louis is going to be a lot better football player this year,”” Stoops said. “”That first year out of junior college is hard in Division I football, but he’s got all the talent in the world.

    “”The great thing about Louis is he has great work ethic. He’s working hard, and we’re expecting great things out of him.””

    Stoops said Holmes’ desire to improve upon an already stellar start to his Wildcat career is the thing that excites him the most.

    He added that his work ethic in the weight room and in conditioning drills embodies the type of player he wants.

    “”That’s the great thing about him. He’s open minded. He knows he can get better,”” Stoops said. “”He wants to be the best player he can be.

    “”There will be a big difference in him from year one and year two.””

    Many believed Holmes to be NFL-bound after last season, but after deliberating with coaches Mike and Mark Stoops, Holmes made the decision in January to complete his college eligibility and further increase his worth as a prospective professional football player.

    “”It was 50-50,”” Holmes said. “”I had another season, so I thought I’d come back. I talked to coach Stoops a lot about it and they wanted me to come back and play another year.””

    Holmes even made permissible contact with NFL evaluators about a possible early entrance into the NFL. Their evaluation apparently did not sway him to leave.

    Turner said he had virtually no doubt that Holmes would come back for a senior season.

    “”I’m happy he’s back,”” Turner said. “”I didn’t want him to leave us this soon, but I kind of knew he was going to stick around and play another year with us.””

    Turner applauded the passion that Holmes brings to the football field every day, something the defensive line feeds from.

    “”We all love having Lou around because he has a love for the game,”” Turner said. “”Every time he comes out and plays, he just brings a lot of heart.””

    Stoops said he was elated when Holmes decided to stick around.

    “”I just want the best for Louis,”” Stoops said. “”When we recruited him, we told him we would look out for him and help get him in a position to move on to the next level.

    “”We need him to help us push to that level and we want nothing but the best for Louis after that.

    When forecasting his upcoming season, Holmes said, “”I’ll probably get a lot more sacks. You can always get better.””

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