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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Stoops wants early signing period in ’09

    Between the ups and downs of players committing and leaving for other schools, combined with the constant worry of keeping up with the news within the program and elsewhere, yesterday’s National Letter-of-Intent Day marks the day that coaches can finally take a step back and evaluate their specific class.

    But for Arizona head coach Mike Stoops, waiting until yesterday doesn’t seem like the best option in terms of letting players first sign with their team of choice.

    Stoops said

    I think (having an earlier signing day) would clarify things a lot better. I think it would be good to clarify things by Christmas about who is available and who isn’t.

    – Mike Stoops,
    head coach

    it would be in the best interest of both the players and schools if in the future signing day was set for an earlier date.

    “”I think (having an earlier signing day) would clarify things a lot better,”” Stoops said. “”I think it would be good to clarify things by Christmas about who is available and who isn’t.

    “”And if a coach were to leave (after Christmas) I think the (the letter of intent) should be null-in-void.””

    Stoops said the amount of money the athletic program is spending on recruiting post-Christmas could be saved if the new policy were put in place.

    “”To spend the amount of money we spend over the last month of the season recruiting is pretty ridiculous to hold onto kids,”” Stoops said. “”We talk about money and that is the biggest waste of money there probably could be.””

    ‘Cats to move Mitchell, Turner to defense

    Stoops said former fullback Earl Mitchell will be moved to the defensive line and former wide receiver Mike Turner will be put back into his old position at cornerback.

    Mitchell’s combination of speed and a big frame was the perfect fit at fullback, but in Arizona’s spread offense, he wasn’t fully utilized.

    “”We felt like Earl is too good of a football player not to be on the field as much as we can get him on the field,”” Stoops said. “”We thought getting him in a position where he can line up and get his hand on the ground and hurt somebody, hopefully, that was the best way to do it.

    “”He is excited about it and I think it is a good move.””

    Turner was moved from cornerback because former standout Antoine Cason and Wilrey

    Fontenot had both of the positions locked up, but since both have departed, he will be moved back to defense to compete for one of the open slots.

    “”We are going to move (him) back to corner this spring just to give him the opportunity to compete for one of the positions,”” Stoops said.

    Stoops makes coaching changes

    Stoops also announced former graduate assistant David Nichol was hired as one of the receivers coaches and will join forces with second-year receivers coach Michael Smith.

    Stoops said there is an emphasis on wide receiver mechanics in an offense that isn’t a stranger to four-receiver sets and in order to give the wideouts the full attention they need Nichol will work as the outside receivers coach and Smith the inside receivers.

    “”As much as we are in four-wide (sets), we thought it would maximize our staff responsibility-wise to do what we wanted to do and make us better,”” Stoops said.

    Nichol graduated from Texas Tech in 1999 – the school that has been almost the model for the Wildcats’ offensive system – and has much experience working in the specific system.

    Stoops added that tight ends coach Dana Dimel will now also coach running backs.

    Stoops visits Super Bowl, Ex-Cats

    He may have been in the thick of the culmination of a long recruiting battle but Stoops still found the time to go to

    Glendale for last weekend’s Super Bowl – thanks to former Wildcat and current Giants safety Michael Johnson, who helped Stoops with tickets.

    Stoops attended the New England Patriots’ practice Friday, giving him a chance to visit with ex-Wildcat Tedy Bruschi,as well as receiver Wes Welker, head coach Bill Belichick and linebacker Mike Vrabel.

    “”It was a fun weekend,”” Stoops said.

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