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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Quarterback queue in question

    Senior quarterback Kris Heavner gets off the ground as he releases a throw in Arizonas 17-10 loss to Oregon State on
    Senior quarterback Kris Heavner gets off the ground as he releases a throw in Arizona’s 17-10 loss to Oregon State on

    Willie Tuitama, Adam Austin or Kris Heavner?

    UA head coach Mike Stoops faces that question this week leading up to Saturday’s game in Pullman, Wash., where Arizona takes on Washington State.

    With Tuitama practicing with the first team following the second of two concussions in a month, Austin expecting to return to practice either today or tomorrow from a knee injury and Heavner seeing all but four snaps in Oct. 21’s 17-10 loss to Oregon State, the Arizona quarterback picture is murky at best.

    “”I’m not going to name a starting quarterback at this point,”” Stoops said yesterday during his weekly press conference. “”We’re going to look at all our options before we name the starting quarterback towards the end of the week.””

    Tuitama, who suffered his first concussion Sept. 9 at LSU before getting another less than a month later on Oct. 7 at UCLA, is “”medically cleared to play,”” according to Stoops, who added that the sophomore was cleared for contact late last week.

    Austin, meanwhile, dressed for last night’s practice but did not participate because the sprained ligament in his left knee is still healing.

    “”Adam was starting to get into a groove,”” Stoops said, “”and every time one of our quarterbacks starts to get in a groove, we have an injury.””

    If it were up to Tuitama, the choice would be easy.

    “”I definitely want to (start),”” he said. “”I know that coach (Stoops) is going to call my parents and talk to them a little bit – I think the doc already has – but we’ll just play it by ear and we’ll see what the coaches want to do.””

    It appears as if the team is leaning toward Tuitama or Austin, if for no other reason than the two have gotten the most reps throughout the season.

    “”I feel like the injury to Adam really hurt us in that game against Oregon State,”” Stoops said. “”It’s nothing against Kris; Kris just has not played.

    “”Kris wasn’t why we lost the game,”” he added later. “”Kris, I thought, the numbers when you look at it, played exceptionally well. (The lack of repetitions) just limited some of the things we probably wanted to do offensively. We probably should have thrown it more.””

    Henry regains starting tailback job

    When former walk-on Chris Jennings exploded for 201 yards and two touchdowns against Stephen F. Austin Sept. 16, it appeared the job was his to lose for the rest of the season.

    The junior split time over the next five games with fellow junior Chris Henry, who was suspended against the Lumberjacks for violating team rules.

    But after Henry was the key cog in Arizona’s offensive wheel against Oregon State two weeks ago, catching eight passes for 87 yards in addition to his 19 yards on the ground, it looks like he’s once again become the team’s No. 1 option at tailback.

    “”I think Chris Henry will probably start at tailback,”” Stoops said. “”(Henry) has caught the ball well, he’s protected the quarterback well, he’s played hard. I like what (Henry) is doing.””

    The move came as a surprise to Henry.

    “”Oh, really?”” Henry said after practice. “”That’s news to me. I didn’t know.

    “”It’s cool, but honestly, that type of stuff doesn’t weigh heavy on my mind,”” he added of starting. “”All I want to do is play football.””

    Bell ringing loud in Denver

    Considering Arizona’s recent lack of success on the ground, it could use the services of former UA back Mike Bell, who exploded for 136 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns in the Denver Broncos’ 34-31 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

    “”From getting the ball to getting to the line of scrimmage, I don’t know if there’s a back faster from getting to Point A to Point B,”” Stoops said of Bell, who was a senior last season. “”He’s not a 4.4 (40-yard time) guy, but from one to 10 (yards), he’s as fast as anybody, and that’s what you see with him, hitting the hole extremely quick.””

    Bell finished his Wildcat career as the program’s No. 4 all-time leading rusher, gaining 3,163 yards on 678 carries and finding the end zone 17 times.

    “”It shows you what a great player – to rush for 3,000 yards and never be on a team that’s won more than four games,”” Stoops said, “”I think that shows about the type of player he is, just to be able to get that many yards when the team is having as little success as we’ve had.””

    Washington State QB garners Pac-10 award

    Already getting a tough test in the secondary facing a pair of 500-yard receivers, the Wildcats will oppose a quarterback on a hot streak when the Cougars’ Alex Brink, the reigning Pacific 10 Conference Offensive Player of the Week, gets behind center.

    Brink threw for 405 yards on 28-of-38 passing and three touchdowns in his team’s 37-15 dismantling of UCLA in Los Angeles Saturday.

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