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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Getting defensive

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The No. 15 Wildcats took on the UCLA Bruins in a Pacific 10 Conference college football game Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Arizona held off a late fourth-quarter push to beat the home team 29-21.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The No. 15 Wildcats took on the UCLA Bruins in a Pacific 10 Conference college football game Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Arizona held off a late fourth-quarter push to beat the home team 29-21.

Cornerback Trevin Wade knows that fans will show up to Saturday’s spring game hoping to see big plays on offense.

“”We’re going to do our part, and if that’s dominating, then that’s that,”” Wade said. “”I’m sure (the fans) just come out to see the offense score points. I just want to see us play hard and get a lot of interceptions.””

That’s why he hopes he won’t be hearing many cheers from the few thousand expected to be in attendance.

Despite glaring struggles in 2010, Wade appears to have returned to the form that earned him a place on the All-Pac-10 second team as a sophomore in 2009 — starring in Arizona’s only other open scrimmage of the spring, nabbing two interceptions.

Wade, a native of Round Rock, Texas, hasn’t been the only one to impress in spring camp. In fact, most of the defense has played well — giving head coach Mike Stoops a reason to be optimistic about the unit in 2011.

“”Our defense, I feel great about the way we’re playing,”” Stoops said. “”I think our secondary is the best collective group we’ve had. We’re going to put a lot of pressure on our secondary guys, this is one of our better athletic groups.””

The defense’s success has senior quarterback Nick Foles and the rest of the Arizona offense excited for a chance at redemption on Saturday.

“”The big goal is to move the ball down the field and put the ball in the end zone,”” Foles said. “”We just need to get everybody involved. Treat it no differently (than a game). It’s the only time we really get to simulate a game experience for our younger guys.””

A big goal for Stoops is to get those younger players into game situations and have them react to different down-and-distances — specifically the offensive line, featuring four players that have never started a game.

“”A lot will be said about our offensive line, but I like the progress these guys have made,”” Stoops said. “”We can’t take nearly the (number of) sacks we took a year ago. It’s good for players to understand situational work. Whether it’s short-yardage, long-yardage, just the game mechanics.””

Though the spring game won’t be run as an actual game with two completely separate teams — it will be strictly an offense vs. defense scrimmage — the Wildcats’ underclassmen will get plenty of work.

Stoops said that they will run “”somewhere between 80 and 100 plays,”” and veterans such as Foles, Juron Criner and Keola Antolin will be among the first players taken out of the glorified scrimmage — opening the door for Arizona’s youth to get on the field.

Though Stoops admittedly isn’t a big fan of the spring game environment, he knows what to look for when the Wildcats take the field at Arizona Stadium for their final practice of spring.

“”We’re just going to get some of those players experience playing out in front of a crowd,”” he said. “”You just want to see your offense and defense go about their business. Just hope we execute well.””

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