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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Is it wise to start Cason at punt returner?

    College football is not rocket science. To win, you must utilize the best players on your roster to the maximum capacity.

    That’ll be the idea with senior cornerback Antoine Cason this season.

    With only a year left of his services before he gets a big paycheck from the NFL, Cason may be the best way to fill the void return specialist Syndric Steptoe left when he was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in April.

    Cason is one of the team’s explosive players on the squad, with big-play capability.

    Rewind to November’s Homecoming game, when Cason picked off California quarterback Nate Longshore’s pass and took it back 39 yards for a touchdown to all but seal the victory for the underdog Wildcats.

    Special teams is an incredibly important and underappreciated aspect of football, and fear of injury is no excuse for holding out a player of Cason’s caliber, especially because he gives Arizona the best chance at solid field position.

    Heck, this is football. The last thing that should be on people’s minds is injury. Players can get injured during any play in any game. Injuries happen from big hits, small hits and sometimes no hits at all.

    For goodness sake, Cason ran for the track team in the spring to work on his speed and agility, and I don’t think head coach Mike Stoops would mind having a track runner with the ball when he sees a little daylight.

    The bottom line is, team roles should be given to the best player no matter what the circumstances are, and if Cason is the best man for the job, holding him out for fear of injury is preposterous.

    Ari Wasserman
    sports writer


    To borrow a line from my colleague Mike Ritter, Antoine Cason has made a name for himself making tackles, and in my opinion, it should stay that way.

    On Monday, UA head coach Mike Stoops named Cason, the Wildcats star cornerback, as the No. 1 punt returner to begin the season.

    This move leaves me looking more confused than an ASU student on the first day of class.

    Coach Stoops, what are you thinking?!?

    Cason, an All-America defensive back last season, is listed on every preseason awards list imaginable this year, and is the anchor of the Wildcat defensive backfield. He is to the Wildcats as Champ Bailey is to the Denver Broncos. He provides stability and leadership, and, most importantly, he completely shuts down one side of the football field.

    Personally, it would make me sleep like a baby knowing that I had that sort of a security blanket on defense.

    Sure, Cason ran track the past season to improve his strength and conditioning, and sure, the incumbent punt returner, Syndric Steptoe, was drafted, but that is not to say that the team is left with no other options than arguably their best player, is it?

    What about the starting kick returner, Devin Ross? If he can handle kickoff return duties, he certainly can handle punts as well.

    Since Cason will obviously be on the field during the opponent’s offensive drives, he will not be able to rest after those nine- or 10-play drives, especially when the play that follows forces him to sprint, jump, juke and evade those hungry special teamers hoping to lay that bone-crunching hit.

    If he gets hurt and has to miss any length of time, any hopes of a successful season will all but evaporate.

    Michael Fitzpatrick
    sports writer

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