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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Cason could be safety

    When free safety Dominic Patrick sprained his right knee during the second quarter of Arizona’s 48-20 victory over Washington State on Saturday, the Wildcats filled his spot with a cast of characters.

    But as the week progresses, the Wildcats must find a more permanent body to fill that void for the next two weeks, and UA head coach Mike Stoops said it could be Arizona star cornerback Antoine Cason.

    If the switch is made, sophomore cornerback Devin Ross – Cason’s likely successor next season and his current backup – would enter the starting lineup.

    “”We want to get Devin Ross on the field,”” Stoops said. “”We need more playmakers on defense, and that’s kind of what we are trying to do. … We want to get the best players on the field.””

    Cason, who has played cornerback at virtually every level of football his entire playing career, said he was open to any change the coaches plan to make, regardless of where he is positioned in the field.

    Though the preseason Playboy All-American has started 39 consecutive games at conerback since arriving at Arizona in 2004, Cason said he has a good enough grasp of the safety position that the transition “”wouldn’t be too tough.””

    “”Of course I would be open to it,”” Cason said. “”Stoops talked to me earlier about that briefly. I don’t know any details about it.””

    Ross, who had an interception in Saturday’s win in addition to solid play on special teams, said he was excited to get on the field.

    “”I’m just here to do my job,”” Ross said. “”I have been ready. I am just working hard every day at practice learning from the older guy. … I would love to contribute. Whatever there is for me to do, I will just listen to my coaches and contribute the best I can.””

    Though the changes have been talked about, defensive coordinator Mark Stoops said no changes have been decided on.

    “”We are not exactly sure yet, we are just working through it,”” Mark Stoops said. “”Nothing has been set yet. … I think (Cason) would do fine at safety. He can do a lot of things and play a lot of positions.””

    Blitz to be used frequently Saturday against Oregon State

    With the Arizona defensive front struggling at times this season to put pressure on the quarterback, Mark Stoops decided to remedy the issue with a more aggressive blitz package against Washington State.

    The result: the Wildcats registered three sacks and applied noticeably better pressure on WSU quarterback Alex Brink.

    Mark Stoops said a more aggressive blitz package will become a larger part of the Wildcats’ defensive scheme, especially this weekend against the Beavers, who start inexperienced sophomore quarterback Sean Canfield.

    “”We try pressuring more and doing some different things,”” Mark Stoops said. “”We just kind of did what we did, and (it was) kind of our normal stuff.””

    Defensive tackle Lionel Dotson said he looks forward to the line’s attempt at “”dominating the line of scrimmage.””

    “”We got a couple of sacks, but we can always use more,”” said Dotson, who registered a sack Saturday. “”Blitzing helps a lot and it helps keep more pressure on the quarterback and helps the quarterback make his decisions quicker. … But when we blitz we bring the house.””

    Mood in Arizona locker room positive

    After Arizona defeated WSU late in the 2006 campaign, it seemed to have given

    the Wildcats the spark they needed to reach a bowl game for the first time in 1998.

    Though the Wildcats never made it to the postseason, they are hoping their victory over the Cougars this year will provide the same push.

    Quarterback Willie Tuitama said the win might have been just as important as year’s Homecoming upset of California.

    “”Of course last year versus Cal, that was a big game to win,”” Tuitama said. “”But the way that we won (Saturday) – through the air, on the ground – I mean, it was definitely the total package as an offense.””

    Wide receiver Mike Thomas said the victory may be the confidence booster the Wildcats need to string together some wins and eventually put them in the hunt for the bowl berth the program is starving for.

    “”I think finally now that we’ve got that victory it helps our confidence out a lot,”” Thomas said, “”But as an offense, we’ve been building the last couple of games to get things going, and since we did get that victory, it isn’t going to do anything but boost our confidence on up a little more.””

    Cason creates wristbands for late grandfather

    After Cason’s grandfather, Royce Rambo, passed away Feb. 6 of leukemia at 76, the cornerback began a campaign to sell rubber “”Cason Cares”” wristbands to aid cancer research by the American Cancer Society.

    “”He was a big inspiration in my life, and something I wanted to do my senior year was raise money for the cancer society,”” Cason said. “”Just something to honor him after everything he has done for me.””

    The wristbands can be purchased at the McKale Center Ticket Office for $3.

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