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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Athlete of the week: Juron Criner

Wide receiver Juron Criner burst onto the national scene when he caught 10 passes for 176 yards and a touchdown in Arizona’s 41-2 win on Friday over Toledo on ESPN.  His numbers were originally better, but a statistical error gave a David Roberts 10 yard catch to Criner.

The junior was surprised by the change when told about it on Tuesday, but losing one catch and 10 yards doesn’t hide the truth – Criner is a premier receiver in the Pacific 10 Conference.

The Arizona Daily Wildcat’s Tim Kosch caught up with Criner after practice to talk about pregame routines, joking in the huddle and where he stacks up with other receivers in the nation.

Daily Wildcat: Head coach Mike Stoops said you’ve been working much harder lately, why is this?

Juron Criner: “”I needed to go that extra mile especially with me being set back in camp, so I feel like I had to run harder than everybody else.””

You were featured twice on SportsCenter’s Top 10 last Friday night, how many text messages did you get when you got off the plane in Tucson?

A lot of people showed me love, I had about 90-something text messages.

It didn’t seem like you guys threw too many deep balls last season but there was definitely an effort to throw it down field against Toledo. Is this a sign of things to come?

I’m hoping so. I’m hoping to catch as many deep balls as I can so I’m hoping that becomes a big part of our offense.

Quarterback Nick Foles said he can just throw it up in your vicinity and know you’ll catch it, how does that make you feel?

I feel like we built that bond and I showed him that if he throws it I’m going to get it.

What gets you more excited in the huddle, when a rocket screen to you is called or when they tell you to go deep?

When they tell me to go deep because it’s me versus the defensive back and like my coaches tell me all the time, when the ball is in the air it belongs to me. Anytime I can get a chance for a one-on-one, I’ll always take that.

Arizona is ranked No. 23 in the USA Today Poll. How does that make you guys feel?

All our hard work is paying off. All that time and sweat we put in, it’s just all paying off.

When the offense is in the huddle, is it all business or is someone in there cracking jokes to keep it loose?

It’s all business, all the joke cracking and all that is on the sideline after we’ve done our jobs. Bug Wright, David Douglas and myself, pretty much everyone has a good attitude on the sidelines.

What about in receiver meetings? Who’s the guy that’s always messing around?

Dan Buckner. He’s always the one laughing and in a good mood.

What are some of your pregame routines?

Me and David Roberts have a few songs we always listen to in the hotel because we’re always roommates every time we travel. Nov. 18th by Drake is my favorite right now.

You’re from Las Vegas. Most kids in America want to go to Vegas when they turn 21, but what does someone from there want to do?

It’s different. I feel like I’ve seen it all and done it all already.

So then what are your plans for when you turn 21?

When I turn 21 (on Dec. 12) I’m going to try and go somewhere else like Miami or something.

What if you have practice that day?

If we do I’ll just have to have a late celebration.

Who do you think is the best wide receiver in college football?

From my perspective, I feel like I am. I work hard and put in the extra time and put in the extra mile and I feel like it’s going to show.

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