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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Football Briefs

    Holmes also to stay

    Arizona head coach Mike Stoops said yesterday that junior defensive end Louis Holmes will join cornerback Antoine Cason in returning for his senior season.

    “”All indications are that all the guys that we planned on having back are back,”” Stoops said. “”Louis is in full-time classes (this semester) and is excited about having his senior year.

    “”I think Louis knows he needs a year to refine some of his skills,”” Stoops said. “”As good as he was, in a year’s period of time, he’ll be twice as good.””

    – Ryan Casey

    Stoops: Henry could have used another year

    Stoops said he met with Chris Henry after the junior running back declared for the NFL Draft last month. They discussed, among other topics, Henry’s notion that the team didn’t use him well last season.

    Henry also has said he wasn’t sure how well he would fit in new offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes’ offense.

    “”I think Chris’ reasons behind everything were somewhat out of line and out of context,”” Stoops said. “”I think Chris had a lot of opportunities to showcase his talent over the second half of the season.””

    Stoops added he thought Henry has “”very unique qualities”” that would have served Dykes’ philosophies well on the field in 2007.

    In any event, Stoops said, the team still has good personnel in Henry’s absence.

    “”I feel we have two premier backs right now,”” Stoops said, referring to junior Chris Jennings and freshman Xavier Smith. “”Chris would have given us three, a guy with a little more maturity, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to work out.””

    Henry can file intent-to-return paperwork with athletic director Jim Livengood before Jan. 19 if he has not hired an agent or otherwise acted to forfeit his remaining year of eligibility.

    Henry led Arizona’s rushers with 581 yards and seven touchdowns. He averaged 114 yards and two touchdowns per game on the ground during the Wildcats’ three-game winning streak in November.

    His skills carrying and catching the ball during that span helped push the team into postseason contention.

    “”I think he’ll get some good opportunities (in the NFL), but I think in the long run he could have benefited from playing another year in this system,”” Stoops said.

    Jennings played in 11 games last season and gained 500 yards with three touchdowns. Smith averaged 5.2 yards per carry.

    Stoops said he intends to also give more playing time next season to freshmen Glyndon Bolasky and Terry Longbons or possibly an incoming freshman.

    – Tom Knauer

    Tuitama OK for spring ball, but Fontenot, Graniello out

    Despite suffering three concussions last season, junior quarterback Willie Tuitama will be ready to start when spring football begins March 21.

    Stoops said Tuitama did not report any lingering effects from the concussions during workouts over winter break.

    “”We’re very confident he’s going to come back and be 100 percent,”” Stoops said.

    Junior cornerback Wilrey Fontenot and junior offensive tackle Peter Graniello will not join Tuitama, Stoops said, as they are recovering from injuries.

    “”Wilrey played a lot of the season with a shoulder separation and had it taken care of,”” Stoops said.

    “”He and Pete Graniello will be out for spring ball. Pete had the same thing. That shoulder, Pete hurt pre-season, and (he) played with it the whole year.””

    Stoops said he was often frustrated at the lack of protection Tuitama received last season and vowed to improve it during the offseason.

    He said Tuitama should fare better next season simply because of Dykes’ new scheme.

    “”Everything’s in front of him, he’ll be in the shotgun a good deal of the time, and I think that’s the best for him,”” Stoops said.

    – Tom Knauer

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