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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    McCovy building on relief roll

    Arizonas Adrian McCovey tries to take down Washingtons Roy Lewis on a kick return during the first half of Arizonas game against Washington, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2005 at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. Washington defeated Arizona 38-14. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Arizona Daily Wildcat)
    Chris Coduto
    Arizona’s Adrian McCovey tries to take down Washington’s Roy Lewis on a kick return during the first half of Arizona’s game against Washington, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2005 at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. Washington defeated Arizona 38-14. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Arizona Daily Wildcat)

    Spring Football

    After a year in which starting linebackers Dane Krogstad, Spencer Larsen and Ronnie Palmer didn’t see time on the field together until the season finale, the Arizona football team may be hoping for health first and production second from its top three this fall.

    If the former falls through again, however, redshirt freshman Adrian McCovy should be there to provide the latter.

    A late addition to Wildcat head coach Mike Stoops’ recruiting class in February 2005, McCovy was one of only three linebackers still with the team to play in all 11 games last year, finishing tied for second on the team with two sacks.

    “”He brings it every day,”” Palmer said. “”He definitely influences all of us other linebackers and makes everybody else want to step up.””

    Such pull was unforeseen going into the final days of the 2005 recruiting war.

    McCovy, then a four-star prospect on a five-star scale, said he struggled to choose from a list of schools including Miami, Oklahoma, Oregon and UCLA.

    “”I picked Arizona because it was an up-and-comer, and Stoops, he’s known for defense,”” McCovy said. “”It was really an underdog team, and I’m not used to being on the top team. I like to work my way up.””

    It didn’t take long for the Lakewood, Calif., native to do just that.

    The redshirt freshman Palmer, the only player ahead of McCovy at middle linebacker, broke a foot during fall camp and missed the team’s first five games, and sophomores Larsen and Krogstad all but rotated starts as they each battled knee ailments.

    Each setback pushed McCovy and current teammates Marcus Hollingsworth, John McKinney and Akin Akinniyi quickly up the depth chart.

    McCovy said he was surprised to get so much exposure so quickly after moving up to the college game, particularly as he grasped the team’s one-gap scheme just a little bit more each week.

    “”You got to know the defense to get on the field, no matter how good your background in high school,”” said McCovy, whose 100-tackle, four-sack senior year at Lakewood High School earned him a No. 7 ranking at his position from scout.com, an online recruiting service. “”It’s knowing your role on the football team.””

    During the spring, McCovy said he’s spent time with Arizona linebackers coach Tim Kish going over plays and learning to let the game come to him.

    McCovy, who had two tackles with the second-string defense in Saturday’s 57-play scrimmage at Arizona Stadium, said he hopes the work will result in him lining up in pass-rushing situations this fall.

    “”I’m really understanding the defense now,”” he said. “”Not fully, but good enough to go out and play without thinking too much.””

    The more help, the merrier, Palmer said, saying the quality depth at the position will be a welcome luxury.

    “”If we had that last year, we wouldn’t have taken a step back with all the injuries,”” he said. “”Now, everybody’s learned the system and everything, and everybody’s getting better and better.””

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