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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Football a Levitre family affair

    Erick Levitre, left, and his younger brother Andy pose with their mother, Sheri, after Arizonas 29-27 road win over Oregon State last year. Andy, a sophomore for the Beavers, has cracked the starting lineup in Oregon States offensive line, while Erick, a fifth year senior and last years starting center, has been relegated to mop-up duty.
    Erick Levitre, left, and his younger brother Andy pose with their mother, Sheri, after Arizona’s 29-27 road win over Oregon State last year. Andy, a sophomore for the Beavers, has cracked the starting lineup in Oregon State’s offensive line, while Erick, a fifth year senior and last year’s starting center, has been relegated to mop-up duty.

    Center Erick Levitre said he’s OK about going from an 11-game starter last season to a sparsely used backup for the Arizona football team.

    He’s more comfortable talking about the success of his brother, Andy, a sophomore at Oregon State who cracked the team’s starting lineup at right tackle five weeks ago.

    “”I’m really proud of him right now,”” Levitre said. “”He’s really stepped into a role that a lot of guys are counting on him for, playing right tackle, playing pretty much every position on the offensive line.””

    Even in a learning season for the Wildcats’ line, which has seen significant playing time given to three redshirt freshmen, including two regular starters, Levitre, a former walk-on, has seen action in only three games.

    It’s entirely possible that when Arizona hosts Oregon State on Saturday during Family Weekend, Levitre, who graduated in June, won’t get another chance to line up on the same field as his younger brother.

    Both players saw time in the Wildcats’ 29-27 victory in Corvallis, Ore., last October, but since then Levitre has been surpassed on the depth chart by first-year starter Blake Kerley, a redshirt freshman.

    “”It’s too bad,”” Andy said in a phone interview yesterday. “”I think it’s the coaching staff. They’re not giving him a fair chance.””

    Erick said he’s accepted his circumstances, maintaining that as a senior his role now is to tutor Kerley and the other linemen.

    He said he never entertained thoughts of leaving the team. He remembered the effect other players’ departures have had on teammates and coaches over his career and didn’t want to put any sort of negative cloud over the team.

    “”Whatever they want me to do, I’m going to do my role,”” he said. “”It’s frustrating, but it’s out of my control.””

    Sheri Levitre, the players’ mother, said she and other family members have been disappointed that Levitre hasn’t at least earned regular repetitions.

    “”It’s a bummer. He wants to play,”” she said in a phone interview yesterday. “”It’s funny, out in the Stanford game (Saturday), they put him in the last two minutes, you know, when they were just downing the ball and kneeling the ball. It was kind of crazy, but at least he got out a few minutes.””

    Kerley said Levitre has made an impact on the line’s play this season by being an extra coach on the sideline, donning a headset, pointing out trends in the play of opposing defenses and giving tips on technique.

    “”If I make a bad snap or it’s too high, he lets me know,”” Kerley said. “”It’s a completely different approach from (UA offensive line coach Eric) Wolford, who is a bit more fiery. It’s nice to have Erick there. He kind of settles me down.””

    Sheri said she’ll be attending Saturday’s game with her husband, Gene, and the players’ grandparents and that she looks forward to resuming a pair of rituals established at Reser Stadium last year.

    Once again, she’ll be toting her cheering method of choice, a 2-foot-by-3-foot sign with the words “”Proud Mom: Can’t Lose”” sandwiching her sons’ names, numbers and school logos.

    “”I can use it one more time, right?”” she said. “”I am bringing it. I’m hoping they’ll let me bring it on the plane.””

    And when the final whistle blows, she and her sons will scurry together and pose for a photograph: Sheri in the middle and Erick and Andy flanking her before dashing off to their respective locker rooms.

    Sheri only wishes the circumstances around this weekend’s snapshot could be more commemorative.

    “”Erick’s not playing,”” she said. “”It’d be nice if he was, but at least this way, everyone will realize there’s brothers out there at the same game. It’ll be fun.””

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