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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    LOS ANGELES – Arizona football fans can exhale.

    Despite unsourced reports over the course of the last few weeks claiming otherwise, Juron Criner will indeed be ready for the 2011 season.

    Just less than a month ago rumors surfaced that Criner could miss the start of the season and possibly more due to family issues. But head coach Mike Stoops debunked those rumors Tuesday at Pacific 12 Conference media day as he explained that Criner left to tend to his ill mother and nothing more.

    “”Juron’s had some personal and family issues with his mother that he had to attend to, and spent some time with his mother, and I think that was a big part of it,”” Stoops said. “”I think he feels better about his mother, and that is a big part of who he is and I think he feels a lot better about her condition.””

    According to Stoops, Criner was with his mother for “”seven or eight days”” in the beginning of July, but never even thought about missing any time and has been working out with his teammates since returning.

    “”I don’t think ever. I don’t know who was quoted saying that,”” Stoops questioned when asked if Criner ever considered not playing next season. “”I don’t think I ever said that or he said that, did he?””

    Criner is now back in Tucson working with his teammates and doing “”the normal stuff he does day-in and day-out,”” said Stoops. The Arizona head coach has no worries about the All-Pac-10 receiver’s conditioning with his time away from the game as he called Criner, “”a freak, athletically what he can do.

    “”Juron is in great shape,”” Stoops added. “”He looks great.””

    Arizona chosen fourth in South Division by the media

    The Wildcats have been stuck between good and great for years. They’ll show flashes of greatness and shoot up to No. 9 in the country, or end the season on a five-game skid to end an otherwise stellar season on a sour note.

    Given their inability to get over the hump and lack of national respect over the past few seasons, it’s no surprise Arizona was ranked fourth in the Pac-12 South Division by the Pac-12 Media Poll.

    Arizona earned one first-place vote and 140 points to land right behind USC (first), ASU (second) and Utah (third), but ahead of UCLA (fifth) and Colorado (sixth).

    Arizona being picked in the middle of the pack has become status quot, and Stoops knows it.

    “”We’ve never been picked high, so it’s not unusual for us, is it?”” he said. “”Must think I’m a bad coach.””

    “”We’ve played better than people want to give us credit for and that’s fine, there’s nothing I can do about that,”” Stoops added. 

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