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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


‘The show will be right back’

Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Summer Wildcat

Throughout training camp, the Arizona football secondary has been antagonized — by a member of its own team.

Receiver Dan Buckner oozes with swagger, plaguing the Wildcats’ cornerbacks and safeties regardless of if he’s on the field or not.

“”The show will be right back,”” Buckner said after wide receiver drills at Rincon Vista Sports Complex during the Wildcats’ first day of fall training camp. “”This is intermission.””

Some receivers might let their play on the field do all the talking, but that’s not an option for Buckner, who has to sit out the 2010 season due to NCAA transfer rules after transferring from the University of Texas.

“”I look at it as I can’t play for 12 days,”” Buckner said. “”That’s not that bad. Then I get some free weekends. I can maybe sleep in or something.””

The 6-foot-4, 208-pound Texas native began the intermission of his collegiate football career when he decided to leave Texas in January 2010 after misdemeanor charges threatened his future career as a Longhorn.

Since coming to Arizona, he has participated with the team throughout spring and fall workouts and is slightly bigger than Arizona No. 1 wideout Juron Criner, the team’s tallest starting receiver.

Although coaches are excited to see what Buckner will do on the field in 2011, they can’t help but wish he will be on the field this year — especially after Delashaun Dean was dismissed from the team over the summer.

While Buckner will be waiting in the wings this season, his explosive ability is helping the Wildcats’ lagging defense pick up the slack in practices. In Buckner’s time at Texas, he had 49 catches for 529 yards and six touchdowns in 25 games, including a crucial two-point conversion catch in last year’s BCS National Championship game against the Alabama Crimson Tide. His game experience is something that has helped the young defensive backs in practice.

“”That’s the great thing. Facing these guys, I know we won’t face no one better in the (Pacific 10 Conference),”” said cornerback Robert Golden of practicing against Arizona’s receiving corps.

“”I break confidence,”” Buckner said about going up against the Wildcat secondary. “”No, I’m kidding. I can give them a good look, a good fast look.

“”I feel like I pass some game experience. You’re only as good as your weakest link so I’m trying to make the whole team better any way I can.””

Even though he won’t be breaking the confidence of cornerbacks and safeties in the Pac-10 this season, Buckner’s love of the game is keeping him focused on what he can have an impact on — himself.

Buckner has an adjusted learning curve. By the time he will be able to play in 2011, he will have gone through four training camps with the offense.

“”The thing about Dan (Buckner) is that he’s a really intelligent person,”” said outside receivers coach Dave Nichol. “”He’s picked up the offense very quickly because he’s really intelligent. He’ll be way better a year from now because I think he’ll be bigger and stronger and faster.””

While he was impressive throughout spring practices, fall camp showed that Buckner’s talent is helping the defense develop now — whether it means by defending a crossing route or putting up with his taunting from the sidelines.

“”The main goal is to win and to win championships,”” Buckner said. “”We’re trying to get to Pasadena and that’s the goal. No one practices to lose and we’re practicing to win right now.””

While Buckner’s intermission before the second half of “”the show”” will last 12 games this season, his potential indicates that the second act will be worth the wait.

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