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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Wildcat Cheat Sheet Aug. 28

Arizona+football+players+hustle+across+Frank+Sancet+Stadium+during+practice+Thursday%2C+Aug.+27.
Alex McIntyre

Arizona football players hustle across Frank Sancet Stadium during practice Thursday, Aug. 27.

Practice report

Arizona football wore red helmets in practice on Thursday, a signal that the season is now less than a week away.

It sounds like no one is more anxious for the season to get started than Rich Rodriguez. Arizona’s head coach said he always gets this way leading up to a new year, and not because he likes the feeling.

“I’m more nervous about the first game every year because we don’t have anything to gauge it off of,” Rodriguez told reporters after practice. “I’m a little nervous that we’re inexperienced at certain positions and that we’re not as deep at certain positions as we want to be.”

One reporter asked Rodriguez about this team’s personality compared to last season. Given that the team’s leaders from 2014 are back ­— Scooby Wright III and Anu Solomon — it shouldn’t be a surprise that the 2015 Wildcats share a similar makeup according to the head coach.

“I hope it’s like last year’s in that they love playing until the very end and never gave up and never quit,” Rodriguez said. “I think these guys have that same personality and work that way, and I would be disappointed if they didn’t.”

Former walk-ons earn scholarships

One of the best parts of any fall camp is when coaches award full-ride scholarships to walk-ons. This year, two of those former walk-ons are saftey Carter Hehr and wide receiver Abe Mendivil.

Rodriguez said Wednesday that Hehr in particular has been one of the hardest workers all through camp.

“He’s worked his tail off,” Rodriguez said. “He typifies everything you want in a student athlete. He’s earned a scholarship, and obviously he’s earned the playing time.”

Hehr, a 5-foot-10 redshirt sophomore out of Fontana, Wis., said he landed at Arizona almost by chance. UA wasn’t on his radar until he turned on ESPN one December day when the Wildcats completed a miraculous victory in the 2012 Gildan New Mexico Bowl.

“I actually applied to Arizona when I was watching the Arizona New Mexico Bowl, and they came back,” Hehr said. “I was like, ‘no essays,’ so I applied here.”

Hehr played quarterback and safety at Big Foot High School. There, he said he sent his game film to numerous schools, only to hear back from coaches that they wanted someone “a little bigger, faster, stronger.”

Arizona was the only major program to offer Hehr a chance to walk-on. Now he has his tuition paid for.

“With getting into the Eller [College of Management] and getting some time playing, I thought a scholarship potentially could come,” Hehr said. “When Coach Rod called me into his office, I was ecstatic.”

Mendivil’s journey to Arizona is not quite as adventurous. As a sophomore wideout from Apollo High School in Phoenix, the UA was an in-state school where he could continue his football career.

But, similar to Hehr, Mendivil did not expect that a full-ride scholarship would be in his near future.

“I was just happy and full of emotion,” Mendivil said. “It was a good moment. I just feel like whatever I can do to contribute to the team, whether that be a backup position or special teams or a starter, I just want to compete.”

As for Mendivil’s biggest influence at Arizona?

“I would say the [previous] walk-ons on the team,” he said. “I would come to them and watch their work ethic.”


Follow Ezra Amacher on Twitter.


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