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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Wildcats set for home opener

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Wildcats downed the Lumberjacks 34-17 Saturday night at Arizona Stadium.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Wildcats downed the Lumberjacks 34-17 Saturday night at Arizona Stadium.

Two hundred ninety three days.

That’s how long since it’s been since Arizona stepped foot on the Arizona Stadium field in front of a raucous ZonaZoo crowd.

Needless to say, Arizona’s anticipation is brewing as it kicks off the 2010 home season against FCS service school The Citadel of the Southern Conference on Saturday night at 7 p.m.

“”We’re just really excited to have a home opener in front of our own fans,”” said junior quarterback Nick Foles. “”It will be exciting to show our fans what we can do. We’re all looking forward to it, we’ve all been waiting for it so we’re all excited.””

For the newcomers and first-timers, Saturday’s home opener offers an opportunity to soak in what an Arizona home game is all about.

“”I can’t wait to see what it’s like,”” said freshman safety Marquis Flowers. “”Toledo was a good experience but they don’t have as many seats for fans as we do. It should be a good experience, just seeing a lot of students, seeing how it gets, tailgating, all of that.””

“”I’m excited to see that ZonaZoo I always hear about,”” added first-year co-defensive coordinator Greg Brown.

The Wildcats made quite the statement in week one as they easily disposed of the University of Toledo, grounding the Rockets 41-2, and now they have a chance to do the same in front of nearly 60,000 fans.

But The Citadel, an even less-heralded opponent than Toledo, offers a different look than the Rockets in the form of a triple-option offense that Brown described as “”alien.””

In its 54-16 week one win over Chowan University, The Citadel ran the ball 52 times and passed it just six times. The passing plays were well timed, though, since they resulted in three touchdowns.

Brown compared defending the option offense to the practice of anesthesiology, “”95 percent boredom and 5 percent scared to death.””

“”They say the option team’s greatest weapon is when they throw a pass because you’re honed in on trying to stop the run, stop the run, stop the run and all the sudden they throw it and you can look silly and it can hurt your team bad,”” Brown added.

Although most of the players have never seen the offense, and Brown, who has 15 years of NFL coaching experience, hasn’t coached against it since 1993, the Wildcats are well prepared for this offence.

“”We’ve watched a lot of tape. We’ve watched a lot of Georgia Tech and what they’ve done in the past,”” said head coach Mike Stoops. “”I’m sure they’ll come in with a lot of different looks but we’re prepared for most of them.””

As long as the Wildcats can stay disciplined defensively, they should be able to walk to a victory over the underwhelming Bulldogs.

Jacksonville State’s victory over Ole Miss last weekend proved overlooking a lesser team is always a realistic fear, but Saturday’s contest is the perfect time to build a big lead, rest the starters, avoid injury and get the youngsters some burn before Iowa comes to town next week.

A lot of Arizona’s young players will be counted on as the schedule gets tougher, including Flowers, a four-star recruit.

When asked if he sees The Citadel game as a chance to showcase his ability, Flowers answered, “”Absolutely. I think every game is going to let me showcase what I’m going to do. It’s definitely time to step up.””

The Wildcats were able to use 60 different players against Toledo, but that number could increase Saturday night. Arizona has a chance to get some rest before Iowa, give the benchwarmers some run, and show Wildcat newcomers what Arizona home games are all about.

Even with the biggest game of Arizona’s young season a week away, along with The Citadel’s underwhelming ability, the Wildcats won’t approach this game differently than any other.

“”Every game is the same to us,”” Brown said. “”We never look ahead. We’re one play at a time. Our starters are up, we’re going pedal to the medal.””

 

They said it: Wildcats on the triple option

 

•””The two wings, the back two, three yards behind the quarterback, I mean, it changes up a lot of stuff.”” Junior linebacker Paul Vassallo

• “”It’s a pretty hard offense to stop.”” Junior linebacker Derek Earls

• “”It’s going to take all the way up to game time to get this done. This is an extremely tough offense to get prepared for. You’ve got to be on top of your keys, disciplined across the board because if you don’t, somebody has a lapse in concentration; somebody’s going to open up a seam and that’s severe trouble.”” Co-defensive coordinator Greg Brown

• “”We are going to have to be very, very assignment-sharp on defense. It is confusing, but with our defense I think we can do it.”” Freshman safety Marquis Flowers

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