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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona football’s Stoops speaks about upcoming season

Arizona head coach Mike Stoops looks on during his team?s disappointing 33-0 Holiday Bowl loss to Nebraska on Dec. 22, 2009 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif.
Arizona head coach Mike Stoops looks on during his team?s disappointing 33-0 Holiday Bowl loss to Nebraska on Dec. 22, 2009 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif.

Over the last month, the talk surrounding Arizona football has been about conference realignment and off-the-field charges against former Wildcat receiver Delashaun Dean.

Lost in all the drama is a potential Rose Bowl team that has a little less than a month before the start of practice.

The Wildcats, unlike last summer, know who their quarterback will be and appear to be in the running as a Pacific 10 Conference contender. Arizona head coach Mike Stoops said he believes his team has a shot to win the Pac-10 championship.

“”As always, we want to compete for a championship. We’ve been on the threshold the last couple years,”” Stoops told the Daily Wildcat from his office at McKale Center. “”I think we’ve had some successful seasons, but we want to have a significant season. That will be to win a championship.””

Going into camp on Aug. 5, Stoops is comfortable knowing he has his starting quarterback in Nick Foles, unlike a year ago when the job was up for grabs, but he’s also pleased to have backup quarterback Matt Scott back, giving the Wildcats another QB with experience as a starter.

“”It gives us a lot more confidence heading into the season offensively to have two quarterbacks that have started,”” Stoops said. “”I think you will see two much more mature players on the field.””

Foles will start, but Stoops hopes to have Scott on the field in a Wildcat formation, expecting to run a lot more plays for the junior. But don’t expect Scott to just to be a Wildcat formation quarterback.

“”We’re always going to have a package for Matt (Scott) in each game,”” Stoops said. “”But again, he’s going to run our offense too. Matt’s a prototypical quarterback that can run. There are a few more plays that we’d like to run with him and we’ll always use those as a change of pace.””

With a three-headed monster at the running back position with senior Nic Grisgby, junior Keola Antolin and sophomore Greg Nwoko, the Wildcats have the talent on the offensive end to compete with any team in the Pac-10.

Some of the concerns for the team won’t be about talent, but how the team will fare after losing offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes and defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, Dykes having left for a head coaching job at Louisiana Tech and Stoops leaving for a coordinator job at Florida State.

But Mike Stoops said the offensive and defensive systems will stay the same under what will be a team of coordinators sharing the offensive and defensive duties.

Bill Bedenbaugh, who enters his fourth season on the coaching staff, will be co-offensive coordinator along with Seth Littrell. Bedenbaugh, who came to Arizona from Texas Tech along with Dykes, is familiar with the quick strike spread offense that was brought over by Dykes.

The defense will be run by co-defensive coordinators Tim Kish and Greg Brown. Brown comes from the University of Colorado and Kish has been on Stoops’ staff since 2004.

Though the voices behind the units have changed, the offensive and defensive units will function pretty much the same.

“”The systems have stayed the same, what we emphasize and what we tinker around will change,”” Stoops said. “”Each coach has individual ideas in what we feel best fits our personnel.””

Stoops expects to do a lot of different things offensively with the talent the team brings back, but admits the defense will have to grow for the team to reach its full potential.

“”Defensively we’re just going to have to mature. We have some young guys that will have to mature quickly,”” he added.

While the team will have to deal with many coordinator changes, Stoops doesn’t mind that he won’t have to prepare to play teams such as Oklahoma or Texas in the coming years.

“”I thought it would have been neat to have 16 teams and the quality of the competition,”” he said of almost having five more Big-12 teams join the Pac-10 along with University of Colorado. “”But I wasn’t excited about playing those guys every year.””

Though Utah and Colorado don’t appear to be as strong as Texas and Oklahoma, the seventh-year head coach thinks the schools will help by bringing different markets to the Pac-10.

“”I think both universities bring great attributes to our conference,”” Stoops said. “”Colorado brings a huge TV market and Utah is a very competitive team on the national level. And it strengthens our conference in a football sense.””

 

Stoops speaks on ex-receiver’s arrest and transfer

When Stoops was asked if former Wildcat Delashaun Dean’s decision to transfer after being arrested on gun charges was a mutual decision, the coach simply said the receiver broke rules that can’t be broken.

“”There are certain team rules that can’t be broken. It’s stated pretty clearly each year what is expected from them and what they can expect of me,”” Stoops said. “”When rules are broken, there are consequences that have to be paid. There certainly wasn’t a lot a wiggle room on that charge, it’s just how we feel as a program.””

When asked whether there was a “”no gun”” policy on the team, Stoops wouldn’t go in depth about team policies.

Dean was expected to be one of the Wildcats’ major receivers, but now the team must find someone to fill that role.

“”It’ll be a committee deal, we have a lot different guys. We’ll look at that position,”” Stoops said. “”It hurts but one player won’t change our style or what we do, we have some depth at the position.””

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