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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Return game taking shape

Michael Ignatov / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Arizona Football summer practice Aug. 21, 2009.
Michael Ignatov
Michael Ignatov / Arizona Daily Wildcat Arizona Football summer practice Aug. 21, 2009.

If sophomore receiver William “”Bug”” Wright was hoping to break away from the constant comparisons to the recently graduated Mike Thomas, head coach Mike Stoops certainly didn’t help when he announced that Bug Wright would be returning punts this season.

“”It’ll be Bug Wright,”” Stoops said in his press conference on Monday. “”He’s great with the ball, he’s very quick, and he’s an exciting player. He’s very good.””

Thanks to a productive spring and an even better summer, Wright has asserted himself as one of the most versatile players on the roster. Returning punts just adds to the receiving and running responsibilities that come with his role as the starting slot receiver.

The more responsibilities the merrier.

“”(Returning) is my bread and butter,”” said Wright, who returned two punts last year for 58 yards. “”I just have to use my speed and quickness, and play fast.””

Wright can’t escape the comparisons to Thomas, which might not be a bad thing.

Thomas, the Pac-10 Conference all-time leader in receptions, was a fourth-round pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars last April and achieved success despite being shorter than most receivers. Wright, who stands just 5’9″”, hears the same critiques that Thomas did, but his coaches believe he might be more athletic than the former Wildcat captain.

“”I think he has the speed,”” said special teams coach Jeff Hammerschmidt. “”Mike might have been stronger, but I think Bug has something more. He has an extra gear just like Mike had and I think there’s things that Bug brings to the table more than Mike did.””

That is pretty high praise for a former high school quarterback entering his first full year as a receiver/returner.

Wright favorite to compliment Antolin on kick returns as well

You might also see Wright returning kicks this season alongside sophomore running back Keola Antolin. The backup running back is a lock as the No. 1 kick returner, and Wright is the leading candidate to be the No. 2.

While Wright is the favorite to get the job, coach Hammerschmidt has several other options should Wright need to focus on all of his other responsibilities.

“”Bug is going to go back there and (return kicks alongside Antolin), but all of the guys want to return kicks,”” Hammerschmidt said. “”(Wide receiver) Terrell (Turner) is possibly going to do kick return and (running back) Nick Booth. We’ve got a list of guys.””

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