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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Corps of receivers

Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat In a matchup of ranked teams, No. 24 Arizona took on the No. 9 Iowa Hawkeyes Saturday, Sept. 18, 2010, at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. A stout defense and pesky special teams helped the Wildcats to a 34-27 upset victory.

If there’s something missing from Arizona’s receiving corps, it’s not obvious what.

The Wildcats have a game-changing No. 1 receiver in Juron Criner, and one of the Pac 12 most reliable pass catchers in David Douglas at No. 2.

Throw in two inside receivers with electric speed — Garic Wharton and Richard Morrison — and athletic freaks Dan Buckner, Austin Hill and Terrence Miller, and quarterback Nick Foles shouldn’t have any problem finding targets this fall.

“You have so many options to go to,” Foles said. “I really don’t know how (the ball) is going to be dispersed.”

The most dangerous thing about the group isn’t Criner at the top — it’s the depth beneath him. Foles is prepared for defenses to do as much as they can to take Criner away as an option.

But because of the depth the rest of the group has, Foles isn’t fazed.

“If they take Juron out of the game, that’s going to help our other guys,” Foles said. “They’ve got to make plays. If the other receivers are making plays, you can’t really key on one guy because you have all these other threats.”

A big reason for Arizona’s depth at receiver is the evolution of senior David Douglas.

Other than Criner, Douglas was the only one that separated himself from the rest of the group during preseason camp, according to receivers coach Dave Nichol.

But that had just as much to do with what Douglas did off of the field as what he did on it.

Douglas was able to add about 10 pounds of muscle this offseason, improving to his all-around game at receiver.

“I just wanted to be a stronger, more physical receiver when it comes to blocking,” he said.

Douglas put in the work in the weight room while doubling as Foles’ roommate, something that makes the duo even more dangerous on the field.

“That chemistry goes a long way,” said Douglas, who was on the receiving end of 515 yards and five touchdowns in 2010.

Foles and Douglas aren’t the only ones with improved chemistry heading into 2011. The entire receiving corps has spent several years together, improving their communication with their quarterback and fellow wideouts.

“As a whole, this receiving crew, all of us have been together for a long time now as a unit,” Douglas said.

And that’s a nightmare for defenses, according to cornerback Trevin Wade.

“They’re all on the same tune with Nick (Foles) in everything they do,” Wade said. “I think we’ve got the best guys (in the Pac-12) … they’re all really good, fast and have good chemistry with Foles.”

Safety Robert Golden is on the same page as Wade, calling Arizona’s receivers “one of the best receiver crops out there in the nation.”

Golden also said that the Arizona secondary has a leg up after practicing against the Wildcat receivers during spring and fall camp.

“I feel like going against these guys every day in practice,” Golden said. “It’s gonna make game times a lot easier.”

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