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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Cason’s double duty fueling drive for 2007

    Cornerback Antoine Cason defends fellow corner Mike Turner during drills yesterday. The senior missed Saturdays scrimmage to compete in a track meet, finishing with a personal best in the 4x100-meter relay.
    Cornerback Antoine Cason defends fellow corner Mike Turner during drills yesterday. The senior missed Saturday’s scrimmage to compete in a track meet, finishing with a personal best in the 4×100-meter relay.

    Antoine Cason watched his team from the sideline in football’s first scrimmage of the spring season Saturday in his No. 5 jersey and warm-ups, sans pads.

    But when the offense took the final snap that morning, Cason was nowhere to be seen.

    Arizona’s head coach Mike Stoops would later confirm that Cason, who he said “”doesn’t need to play”” in a scrimmage game, had prior commitments to the track team, running a season-best time of 40.27 in the 4×100-meter relay.

    So how does Cason take control of this balancing act of being an active member of both sports?

    “”Oh, it’s tough,”” he said. “”It’s something new for me, and it humbles me in a way – just to keep working hard and stay on top of my game in both sports.

    “”Track has been going good,”” he added. “”It’s been helping me in a lot of ways, and I still go do my football and use my abilities. Track is helping that out.””

    Added defensive coordinator Mark Stoops: “”He’s obviously very busy, and he practiced last week … and went out on Saturday afternoon and ran pretty good for the track team. So this Saturday, we kinda gave him the time off.””

    Cason, never shy to hide his thoughts, said his goal for 2007 is simple: Be the best – not just in the Pacific 10 Conference, but in the nation.

    “”I mean, last year I was Pac-10 First Team,”” he said. “”Feels good to come back off that. But it’s still a process of me working and getting to where I can elevate my game, and I feel confident about that.

    “”I always think I’m the best cornerback. That’s what you gotta feel, and I feel that way. That’s how I play.””

    Last season Cason had a total of three interceptions for 57 yards with one defensive touchdown, the first of his collegiate career. He also led the team defensively behind linebackers Spencer Larsen and Ronnie Palmer.

    Yesterday, he was one of 42 defensive backs in the nation named to the Ronnie Lott Trophy watch list, an award given out each year to the nation’s top defensive back.

    “”I think he’ll go in as definitely, if not the best, one of the best players in the Pac-10 and one of the top couple cornerbacks in the country,”” Mark Stoops said of Cason’s abilities.

    But achieving the goal of being the best means Cason will have to stay healthy for the duration of the fall season, something he’s done his entire career at Arizona.

    “”That’s a big key, but you know, I can’t think about it,”” Cason said. “”So I just block it out of my mind, and just keep working as hard as I have to get to this point.

    “”Don’t ever forget what got me here and that was hard work and not worrying about getting injured.””

    Added Mark Stoops: “”You always worry about (injuries), but you know, he practices hard all the time, and he’s in great physical condition, so he’ll be OK.””

    As for why he decided to stay for his fourth and final year and risk not only injury but also draft status, Cason said he was too close to graduation to leave.

    “”You can’t duplicate your college experience,”” he said. “”I didn’t want to leave it too early, and I came here with the mindset of going to the bowl game and trying to lead my team to that and leave on a winning note and a good note.””

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