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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Wade using offseason to return to form

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Mike Christy
The No. 23 Arizona Wildcats hosted in-state rivals Arizona State in a college football game Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010, at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. The visiting Sun Devils upset the Wildcats by blocking an Arizona PAT in double overtime.

In less than one season, Arizona cornerback Trevin Wade transformed from an underrated overachiever to the biggest disappointment of the 2010 campaign.

The unheralded high school recruit burst onto the scene his freshman year and became the Wildcats’ top cornerback by the end of his sophomore season.

He led the team in interceptions (5) and pass break-ups (14) in 2009, while landing on the cover of the 2010 Sports Illustrated Pac-10 Preview edition to boot.

But the 5-foot-11 Austin, Texas, native fell well short of the preseason hype, eventually losing his starting job to freshman Shaquille Richardson and ending last season as the Wildcats’ third or fourth most productive cornerback.

Wade quickly became a liability on the field fell from stardom to backup duty after starting 13 games the year before.

Neither Wade nor first-year secondary coach Ryan Walters could pinpoint the reasons for the cornerback’s struggles.

“”I think just um, I would say just … shoot, I don’t know, I couldn’t tell you what happened,”” Wade said as he searched for the right answer.

Walters, who was a graduate assistant last season, also struggled to diagnose the problem as he said, “”I don’t know, it could be a number of things.””

But with one more year at Arizona ahead of him, Wade is determined to return to the form that landed him on the Jim Thorpe Award watch list — given to the nation’s top defensive back — leading up to last season.

He’s aiming re-establish himself by realizing his struggles last season and using them as motivation moving forward.

“”I’m glad it happened, though, because it gets my head on straight and just let myself know there’s no games,”” Wade said.

For a player who finished with only one interception and three pass break-ups last season, Wade oozed confidence in his game regardless of his 2010 downfall. He envisions regaining his starting role and flourishing after an underwhelming junior season.

“”I expect to be bigger in that role,”” Wade said confidently. “”I’m going to take over and take half the field out of the equation, so I’m going to be ready for this season.””

Walters praised Wade’s work ethic so far this spring, which was, at times, in question last season. He finished Saturday’s scrimmage with two interceptions and a pass break-up, while impressing his new secondary coach.

“”He’s out here busting his tail, and I think he’s back to the Trevin Wade of old. So, I’m looking forward to seeing him improve this spring and move on to the fall,”” Walters said. “”He understands what he has to do to get better, and he’s doing it. So, that’s very encouraging.””

It’s easier said than done, but Wade is on the right track. He’s added 12 pounds of muscle in the offseason and is aiming to become more of a physical threat, rather than just a prototypical cover corner.

“”I feel more comfortable coming down and being more physical out here,”” he said. “”I’ve been showing it the last five practices and, hopefully, it continues.””

The inner demons of last year’s struggles are behind the bigger, more industrious Wade and he may finally live up to the pre-season hype that surrounded him over a year ago.

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