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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Britton going ‘buck’ on O-line

    UA right tackle and one of three redshirt freshmen starters on the offensive line, Eben Britton grins after practice yesterday at Jimenez Practice Facility. Britton and the offensive line gave up three sacks last week against Louisiana State, but UA offensive line coach Eric Wolford said Britton was the lines best performer.
    UA right tackle and one of three redshirt freshmen starters on the offensive line, Eben Britton grins after practice yesterday at Jimenez Practice Facility. Britton and the offensive line gave up three sacks last week against Louisiana State, but UA offensive line coach Eric Wolford said Britton was the line’s best performer.

    Eben Britton isn’t one to settle for clichǸs.

    During fall camp, as the redshirt freshman readied to become one of three new starters on the Arizona football team’s offensive line this season, he devised a new catchphrase to inspire his teammates in the trenches.

    “”More than leave it on the field, ‘Go buck naked,'”” Britton said. “”That’s just what I try to do every day, come out and play as hard as I can. If it doesn’t go right, I just make sure I go full speed.””

    Only two games into his Arizona career, the 6-foot-6, 280-pound Britton is quickly catching up to the speed of college football, even if his growing pains at times mirror those of his unit.

    The offensive line was manhandled for two sacks on the offense’s first series of the Wildcats’ 45-3 loss to No. 6 Louisiana State on Saturday, only to hold the Tigers to a single sack the rest of the game.

    Britton, the right tackle, said he wasn’t intimidated by the physicality of LSU’s front four.

    He was too busy taking in the atmosphere at Tiger Stadium, which, with 92,000 fans clamoring and ESPN2’s cameramen beaming the game to a national television audience, made for “”the coolest thing I could have imagined as a kid.””

    “”It wasn’t too much of an adjustment,”” Britton said. “”It was just another level of excitement.””

    Britton’s early play already has Arizona’s coaches giddy about his potential.

    UA offensive line coach Eric Wolford called Britton the unit’s best performer against LSU, while head coach Mike Stoops said that the play of the team’s inexperienced line – which also features redshirt freshmen Blake Kerley at center and Daniel Borg at right guard – has met his expectations.

    “”I really like the way our young linemen, all three of them, are playing well and competing well,”” he said. “”I thought Eben Britton played a really good game (Saturday).””

    Redshirt junior tight end Brandyn McCall has been instrumental in channeling Britton’s wild side.

    The two live a floor apart in an off-campus apartment complex and hang out on the weekends with other teammates, playing video games or lounging by the pool.

    Despite being two years apart in age, Britton and McCall have forged a bond they’ve been eager to translate onto the field.

    “”He’s a beast,”” McCall said. “”I love being on the same side of the line with him, because we maul people. We give each other a little (fist) pound and kick some ass. I love it.””

    Britton said he took his toughness from the lessons of his coaches at John Burroughs High School in Burbank, Calif., where years of pull blocking and launching into defenders gradually took its toll on his shoulders, back and ankles.

    “”It was always about being tough, fighting through the injuries, fighting through pain, just laying it all out there and playing with good fundamentals,”” he said.

    It didn’t hurt that his mother, Abbie, ran a personal training business in Los Angeles throughout his playing days.

    “”I get back spasms a lot because I have a long torso,”” Britton said. “”I would always go to my mom, you know, (and say),’Could you work this out for me?’ or ‘Walk on my back.’ She’s always been a great help.””

    Now Britton’s helping the Wildcats with his play, which Wolford said should only improve as he becomes more comfortable in his role over the course of the season.

    “”He makes a conscious effort to get better every day, and those are the kinds of things that we talk about,”” Wolford said. “”He’s got a physical attitude. He’s got some fire. He’s not afraid to speak up and say things.

    “”He’s got natural leadership qualities, and we need that.””

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