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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Austin to start for Cats at Stanford

    Willie Tuitama isnt getting up for the moment as the Arizona medical staff attends to the sophomore quarterback in the second quarter of UCLAs 27-7 win over the Wildcats at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Tuitama suffered his second concussion in less than a month after he was hit in the chin by defensive end Bruce Davis.
    Willie Tuitama isn’t getting up for the moment as the Arizona medical staff attends to the sophomore quarterback in the second quarter of UCLA’s 27-7 win over the Wildcats at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Tuitama suffered his second concussion in less than a month after he was hit in the chin by defensive end Bruce Davis.

    After suffering his second concussion in less then a month, quarterback Willie Tuitama will likely be sidelined for Saturday’s game at Stanford, leaving the signal-calling reins in the hands of backup Adam Austin.

    Though UA head coach Mike Stoops officially listed the sophomore as “”questionable”” to play this week during his weekly press conference yesterday morning, Stoops said after practice yesterday that Austin would “”probably, most definitely”” start against Stanford.

    “”Adam prepares like a starter every week, and that’s not coaches’ speak,”” Stoops said. “”Adam is very intelligent, very smart, and he has great arm strength. …He’s done a great job, and he’ll do a great job Saturday.””

    Austin, who threw for 192 yards on 15-of-30 passing including his first career touchdown through the air in relief of Tuitama against the Bruins, will make just the second start of his career.

    “”It’s an opportunity that a lot of people wish they could have,”” Austin said, “”and I’m glad I have the opportunity.””

    The redshirt senior has seen action in four games this season, completing 50.7 percent of his passes for 342 yards.

    Austin played the majority of the second half after Tuitama suffered his first concussion in a loss to then-No. 8 Louisiana State Sept. 9, and also led Arizona to a 28-10 win over Stephen F. Austin the following week, playing the first three quarters. A week later against No. 3 USC, Austin played the team’s final series after Tuitama tweaked his ankle.

    “”It’s night and day from before with having experience,”” Austin said. “”Just getting in there and getting reps, getting used to the game speed – it’s totally different from practice and scrimmages and stuff…getting in and out of the huddle with the play clock and everything.

    “”The more snaps you get, the better you get.””

    Austin gets the nod after Tuitama suffered what Stoops termed “”a pretty good concussion”” during the second quarter of Arizona’s 27-7 loss to UCLA and spent the second half in a Los Angeles hospital getting examined.

    Tuitama’s concussion came after he absorbed a hit from Bruin defensive end Bruce Davis, a hit Stoops said he felt “”wasn’t a direct helmet-to-helmet hit”” that caught Tuitama under his chin.

    “”We want to make sure he’s healthy,”” Stoops said, “”and we may look at a different helmet to give him a more protective helmet, maybe give him one of the newer ones. He has an older helmet.””

    Tuitama’s availability past Saturday remained in question.

    “”I would say I would be fairly conservative with (Tuitama), just because he has a long career in front of him, no question,”” Stoops said.

    Kris Heavner, who started as a true freshman under former coach John Mackovic in 2003, would be Austin’s backup if needed.

    “”Kris has had limited time, but he’s played and he knows the system,”” Stoops said.

    Tuitama wasn’t available for comment yesterday per team policy regarding injured players.

    Canales to be less involved in running game

    After a third consecutive game in which Arizona’s offense didn’t rush for positive yardage, the UA offense will now be overseen by separate coordinators, with offensive coordinator Mike Canales handling the passing game and tight ends coach Dana Dimel handling the running game.

    “”I felt we needed something different, and I think they’ll co-exist in a very positive way,”” Stoops said. “”It’s not about me, it’s not about Mike, it’s not about Dana. It’s about our program. It’s about getting our kids in better position to win.””

    The pair will share input during games to call plays.

    “”We’re not going to change our terminology, we’re not going to change our system right now,”” Stoops said, “”but (Dimel) brings more stability and a strong background in running the football.””

    Canales has been the offensive coordinator since Stoops arrived at Arizona in 2004.

    “”It’s about team, it’s about winning and trying to find a way to be able to run the ball,”” Canales said, “”and Dana’s got some great expertise. He’s been a coordinator, he’s been a coach, so we’re going to use that expertise. And we’re going to find a way to run the football.””

    Dimel, who came to Arizona after six years of experience as a head coach at Houston and Wyoming and four years as an offensive and run game coordinator at Kansas State, called the move “”one to help to make ourselves better as a football team.””

    “”When I came here and took this job, I thought any way I thought I could come in and help the situation, I would do that,”” Dimel said. “”I’m trying to get involved in every aspect what we’re doing offensively, trying to get more involved in the blocking unit, trying to get more involved in the pass-protection unit, and that’s how it changes, just to try to have my hands in things a little bit more.””

    Dimel’s experience as a head coach and offensive coordinator had a major role in the coaching shift.

    “”I’ve been through situations, big ball games, big situations, and my experience can help this situation right now, so that’s what we’re trying to do,”” Dimel said.

    Stoops hinted at some “”minor changes”” yesterday morning during his press conference, but the change wasn’t revealed until after practice last night.

    “”Obviously, there are some things that are broken and need to be fixed,”” Stoops said yesterday morning. “”What we’re doing doesn’t seem to be working as well as we would have liked.””

    “”We’re not going to change totally who we are,”” he added later, “”(but) we’ve got to change some things about the way we’re doing things.””

    The team’s inability to run the football and open up the pass played no small part in the decision to change the way the team approached its offensive preparation heading into Saturday’s game against Stanford.

    “”The negative yardage plays are absolutely driving me crazy,”” Stoops said. “”Going the wrong way on plays, fumbling snaps – those are things that, for an average team, it’s hard to overcome against a good team.

    “”Our margin for error is very, very minimal.””

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