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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Could Golden be the next Cason?

    For the past four seasons there was one constant on the Arizona defense – Antione Cason and Wilrey Fontenot would get the start at corner.

    This season, a slew of inexperienced players are vying to plug those holes as senior Nate Ness and junior Cam Nelson will be the leaders from the safety positions. The two expected starters at the cornerback slots are senior Marquis Hundley and junior Devin Ross, both of whom are more than capable of being good replacements for the new San Diego Charger (Cason) and Atlanta Falcon (Fontenot) defensive backs.

    “”We’re gonna miss Antione and Wilrey a lot, but Devin and Marquis are very good DB’s,”” Nelson said. “”They’re very quick, they’re very fast – just like Antione and Wilrey – they just don’t have as much experience as Wil and Antione, but I have faith in them and trust them a lot.””

    Freshman Robert Golden has also raised the eyebrows of some eyebrows for his work ethic and good attitude, not to mention his natural physical talent.

    “”Robert brings a physical and mental maturity for a young player who’s far beyond his years, so that obviously gives him a great opportunity to contribute,”” said UA head coach Mike Stoops. “”He’s a competitive kid, he wants to be great and he works everyday. … We’re moving him around to a couple of different positions and we feel like he’ll bring some versatility to our defense.””

    Golden said the speed of the game is much faster at the college level than what he was used to at Edinson High School in Fresno, Calif., but he’s just happy to have a chance to contribute to the team this season.

    “”Coming out here everyday and practicing with the players and team is great; I can’t complain,”” Golden said. “”My expectations are just coming out here and being wherever the coaches need me to be and working hard and playing hard every time I touch the field and make the team better.””

    Aside from Golden, Ross and Hundley, sophomores Mike Turner and Victor Yates and freshman Trevin Wade could all see time on the field at some point this season. It could be somewhat of a cornerback-by-committee platoon this season.

    “”I like our energy and enthusiasm and the guys are just working hard,”” said defensive coordinator Mark Stoops. “”I feel like we’re getting some depth.””

    Stoops then pointed to Golden as an example of the caliber of recruits Arizona has been signing recently. While some are more obvious than others – such as Ness, Nelson and Golden – others might not even line up against players in another uniform this season.

    “”I love (Mark Wately),”” Stoops said. “”I think he’s gonna be a fantastic player but he’s probably not gonna help us this year, and that’s the way it should be at most positions. You always want to sprinkle three or four or five of those guys in, but in general, you want to get a talented kid like him and let them mature and get stronger, and by next year they’ll be a great player.””

    No matter which players will be on the field for the Wildcat secondary, they will have to step up in order for Arizona’s defense to return to the days of the ‘Desert Swarm.’ Seven out of the other nine teams in the Pacific 10 Conference averaged more than 200 yards passing per game last year and six of the nine averaged more than 28 points per game.

    For a unit which gave up and 234.2 yards passing per game last year and has yet to find its identity, Nelson, Ness, Golden and Co. will be out to prove they can play at a high level.

    “”We’re always going to be a defensive team, we’re just a young defensive team that has no name yet,”” Nelson said. “”But we’re still gonna go out there and play hard and try and make a name for ourselves.””

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