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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Stoops enters ’08 with confidence

    Arizona football head coach Mike Stoops addresses the media in McKale Center on Sunday. The Wildcats began fall camp Monday.
    Arizona football head coach Mike Stoops addresses the media in McKale Center on Sunday. The Wildcats began fall camp Monday.

    When Mike Stoops began his first press conference of the fall Sunday in McKale Center, the Arizona football head coach did not express much concern for a 2008 season which will likely decide his fate in Tucson. Instead the fifth-year Arizona front man exuded only confidence in a team full of youth and inexperience.

    “”It’s exciting to be back and to get started,”” Stoops said. “”I think this is the best team we’ve had when we talk about team.

    “”We have a lot to play for this year and a lot to prove and we’re excited to see what we’re capable of.””

    Since the start of summer, the Wildcats have been holding voluntary practices every week led by players quarterback Willie Tuitama and linebacker Ronnie Palmer. In addition to these practices, veterans have been leading Arizona’s 19 newcomers through summer workouts and lifting, getting them ready for fall camp which began Monday.

    Despite a lack of experience across Arizona’s preseason depth chart, Stoops said the returning veterans’ work throughout the summer should pay off in the coming weeks.

    “”I’m proud of what our kids have done of the past two or three months, we’ve had a really positive summer overall,”” Stoops said. “”Our discipline off the field, our discipline (in McKale Center), and taking care of our obligations academically and athletically have us in a more positive situation heading into this

    season.””

    The Wildcats are filled with questions throughout their lineup coming into fall camp as 10 players currently sit atop the depth chart, carrying fewer than three starts apiece.

    Offensively, however, Arizona will return a majority of its starters including integral members Tuitama, receiver Mike Thomas and tight end Rob Gronkowski.

    In Stoops’ mind, his quarterback, big tight end, and young running back Nic Grigsby will “”be the key to success”” for the Wildcats’ offensive attack.

    “”I look for Willie (Tuitama), Robbie (Gronkowski), and Grigsby to be some of our most improved players,”” Stoops said. “”I think (Grigsby) being stronger in certain situations and (Gronkowski) becoming a better route runner will really make things easier for us offensively.

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