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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Wildcats set for Lumberjacks: Battle of two remaining undefeated schools in Arizona

Arizona+safety+Will+Parks+%2811%29+goes+for+a+tackle+against+UTSA+at+Arizona+Stadium+on+Thursday%2C+Sept.+3.+The+game+against+UTSA+ended+42-32%2C+the+Wildcats+first+win+of+the+year.
Tyler Baker

Arizona safety Will Parks (11) goes for a tackle against UTSA at Arizona Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 3. The game against UTSA ended 42-32, the Wildcats’ first win of the year.

Arizona football will return to Tucson this weekend to host the NAU Lumberjacks. 

After a convincing victory over Nevada last Saturday, the Wildcats will prep for their final non-conference game of the season. 

Two years ago, NAU came into town for the Wildcats home opener, where they were blown out 35-0 by Arizona. 

The Wildcats will be looking for another cruising victory before UCLA visits next weekend.

The main concern for Arizona continues to be injuries. With Scooby Wright III set to miss his second week and his replacement Haden Gregory also out, Arizona is forced to dig deep into the depth chart. 

The hits don’t stop there. 

According to the injury report released Thursday, linebacker Derrick Turituri is listed with a  groin injury, but is likely to play, while another linebacker, DeAndre’ Miller, is listed as questionable to play with his wrist injury. 

That means redshirt freshman Tre Tyler, who saw time in the Nevada game, will continue to see time at middle linebacker. 

“I feel like I was ready for this game since I got here,” Tyler said. “I am here, and I am ready to contribute to the team.” 

Fortunately for the Wildcats, they do still have a good deal of experience on defense, starting with senior Will Parks. 

The upcoming game with NAU will be a special one for the safety. Parks said his father arrived in Tucson from Philadelphia on Tuesday night, and the rest of his family came Thursday. In all, Parks’ family will take up 22 tickets for the game. 

“They saved money for a long time just to make this trip,” Parks said. “The trip is going to be worthwhile, too, because my brother that’s at New Mexico [Delane Hart-Johnson], they play ASU this Friday. They’re going to drive down to Tempe on Friday, and Saturday we get ready to play NAU.”

Parks is enjoying the time he has with his dad in Tucson. 

“It’s exciting for me just knowing that he’s going to be in the stands,” Parks said. “I don’t know, I might have to show him something—something I have never shown before.”

As for Saturday’s matchup, Parks said that the aspect of NAU’s offense that jumps out the most is its passing game. 

“They’ve got a good quarterback and good receivers,” he said. “Their receiving corps is very respectable. They get open behind defenders and they create space. That’s a challenge that I’m looking forward to and all the guys are looking forward to.”

Arizona’s defense will be important to watch because of all the injuries it has endured. The newer guys who step in are vital to the Wildcats’ successes come Saturday.

Though the defense has been banged up, Parks has likes what he has seen so far. 

“I love everything. There is nothing weak to me, from our d-line back to our secondary,” he said. “All that communication and chemistry that we build—it feels like we’ve been together for a while, and that’s the good thing about playing football. You get to talk out there on defense, and make fun of things and we have to be passionate back there.”

However, Parks said he has never played on a defense that has suffered this many injuries. 

“I don’t know what’s going on. We might have a curse going on over here,” he said. “I mean, the guys will be back right on time for Pac-12 play, hopefully. So that’s a good thing. I think that a lot of guys stepped up. It was my job to go above leading and just making sure everybody comes out on top.”

Last week, Arizona’s beaten-up defense allowed 327 yards to the Wolf Pack—a far cry from the 525 yards it gave up to UTSA. The team also earned its first sack of the season while creating more quarterback pressure than the week prior. 

“[Those games] were like day and night,” Parks said. “Throughout each week we want to build on our positives and our negatives. That’s what I look forward to. Just to getting better every day. Not just during the game, but during the week in preparing for the game.”


Follow Kyle Hansen on Twitter.


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