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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Sizing up The Citadel

The UA football team opens its home season against The Citadel Bulldogs on Saturday at 7 p.m.

While the date and time of the Wildcats home opener has been known since the schedule dropped, the bigger question has been Arizona’s opponent.

So who, or what exactly, is The Citadel?

The Citadel — known as “”The military college of South Carolina”” — is an FCS squad making the longest trip in its programs history to meet Arizona for the first time. The academy was founded in 1842 in Charleston, South Carolina and the school’s total enrollment is less than half of the freshman class at the University of Arizona.

The Bulldogs are part of the Southern Conference, most recently making noise in the college football world when fellow conference member Appalachian State upset of No. 5 Michigan in 2007.

For head coach Kevin Higgins, this season has been about finding veteran leadership in senior cornerback Cortez Allen on defense, while Arizona head coach Mike Stoops is working new coaches into his system. Higgins replaced two coordinators and hired three other new members to his coach staff.


Sir, yes Sir!

Co-defensive coordinator Tim Kish knows a little bit about coaching at a military school. Kish spent eight years at the United State Military Academy at West Point from 1984-1991 as a defensive ends and linebackers coach. He helped Army reach three bowl games during his tenure. His defensive schemes helped the Black Knights hold their opponents to 17 points or less a total of 42 times in his coaching career at Army.

His personal experience with a military-based athletic program gives him an insight into what the Wildcats will face against The Citadel.

“”What you know is that they’re going to be very disciplined, they’ve got great work ethic and what you don’t want to do is let them think they’re in a game because their mentality is stronger and stronger as they go,”” Kish said of playing against an opponent with a military background. “”Having been at West Point for eight years I know that’s typically the way the thought process is and so we’ve got to do a good job early of not giving them something cheap.””

It’s not only the Bulldogs military background that required Arizona to be especially careful when it comes to assignments on defense this week. The Citadel runs a triple option offense, giving them the opportunity to run three different types of plays every time the ball is snapped.

“”It really comes down to, any time you play option teams you have to stay disciplined in your fits and it’s assignment football,”” Kish said. “”What you’ve really got to be 100 percent right on is who’s taking the dive, who’s taking the quarterback and who’s taking the pitch and you’ve had to be sound with everything that you do.””

Arizona’s performance against Toledo already garnered national attention over the weekend and the Wildcats are quickly ascending the list of Pacific 10 Conference contenders.

Arizona head coach Mike Stoops echoed Kish’s emphasis on disciplined football as a necessity against The Citadel to avoid an upset.

“”Carrying the momentum forward, we don’t want to go out there and not take care of business,”” Stoops said. “”This team can be dangerous if we’re not disciplined or prepared.””

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