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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Golden proves versatility

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Mike Christy
The University of Arizona football team takes part in morning practice Friday, Aug. 20, 2010, at the Rincon Vista Sports Complex in Tucson, Ariz. The Wildcats look to reach a bowl game for the third season in a row with quarterback Nick Foles at the helm. (Photograph by Mike Christy)

After a one-year hiatus from the cornerback position, Arizona junior defensive back Robert Golden is expected to return back to his comfort zone in 2010.

“”I think we’re pretty well set on corner right now,”” head coach Mike Stoops said of Golden’s position after Saturday’s weather-shortened scrimmage.

Golden, who started all 13 games at strong safety in 2009, developed into a four-star recruit as a corner at Edison High School in Fresno, Calif.

The ball-hawking defensive back was ranked as the No. 11 cornerback coming out of high school in 2008, and turned down offers from USC, ASU, UCLA, Oregon, Michigan and a handful of other schools to play for the Wildcats. After a freshman season full of special team duties, Golden was asked to play safety because then-senior Devin Ross and current junior Trevin Wade tied down the cornerback spots.

But with Ross now graduated, Golden has the opportunity to play the position the Wildcats originally signed him to play.

“”I’m natural at the corner spot and then playing safety last year, I got a better feel for it now this year,”” Golden said during an Aug. 7 photo shoot. “”Wherever I play, I just want to help the team out.””

The 5-foot-11, 200-pounder did much more than help the team out in 2009. Golden recorded 41 tackles (24 solo) and two interceptions for 93 yards, highlighted by a 74-yard pick-six against Stanford.

With one more season under his belt, Golden will now wear a leadership hat on the defense. Freshman safety and marquee name of the 2010 recruiting class Marquis Flowers cited Golden as one of the players who helped him along during training camp.

“”The upperclassmen, they do a real good job at (mentoring),”” Flowers said. “”Trevin Wade, Joe Perkins, Wilcox and Robert Golden. They all help out and give their advice so I could do better on the field.””

And that leadership role is something Golden is hoping to relish in.

“”I want to help our defense improve in every aspect that I can, so being able to be a leader, a vocal leader,”” Golden said. “”I think I’ve given the team a lot of energy and a lot of momentum to go out there and produce everyday.””

Stoops made it clear that Golden won’t be deadlocked at corner, and could still see some time at safety or dime. But for now, Golden is expected to be lining up opposite of Wade on the Arizona defense, leading an exciting Wildcats secondary.

“”The defensive backfield, we have a lot of talent back there,”” Golden said. “”Especially with the freshman, it’s a lot of guys out there that are ready to play right now.””

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