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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Football notes: Discipline will be key to stopping Oregon

The Oregon Ducks fly all around the field, and while it’s always nice to catch them, head coach Rich Rodriguez said Arizona will just try to keep their eyes on them.

It’s pretty well-known that Oregon has excessively talented players on offense. From explosive running back De’Anthony Thomas to his backfield mate Kenjon Barner to versatile quarterback Marcus Mariota, the Ducks are a force to be reckoned with. Rodriguez said the key to stopping them is discipline.

“You have to have great discipline [against Oregon], not only technique discipline but eye discipline — where your eyes are at,” Rodriguez said. “Even then you can still get out of place if you take the wrong step because they’re so fast.” Vision is usually thought of as an offensive trait, but Rodriguez said its something that needs to be perfected defensively too.

“These days in football, it’s not just for the quarterback where his eyes are at, but for the defensive player [as well].”

Rodriguez said eye discipline is a technique that can be taught just like tackling or getting into the proper defensive stance, but even the best can get blurry from the Ducks’ blinding speed.

Austin Hill added to watch list

Sophomore receiver Austin Hill, who leads the Wildcats with 319 yards, was named to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List Tuesday, which is an annual award given to the nation’s most outstanding receiver.

“It’s an honor to be on a list like that,” Hill said. “Big names have been on that list, so I’m just honored to be on it. But I don’t want to let it get to my head, I just want to keep playing the best I can, keep helping the team out as much as I can.”

Hill has 17 catches and a touchdown this season to go along with his team-high in receiving yards. He is one of 56 players on the Biletnikoff Award Watch List, including teammate Dan Buckner.

Recent recipients of the Biletnikoff Award include Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon and Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree (twice), Notre Dame’s Golden Tate and Georgia Tech’s Calvin Johnson.

Finally, some defensive depth

No. 22 Arizona recorded its first shut out since 2008 in its 56-0 defeat of FCS South Carolina State, but more importantly the Wildcats were able to get some previously injured players some reps on the field. Sophomores Dan Pettinato and Hank Hobson finally returned to action after missing the first two games and came away with three solo tackles apiece. Entering fall camp, Hobson was penciled in as a starting linebacker and Pettinato was at least in the mix to start at defensive end, but nagging injuries kept them out. Last season Hobson made eight total tackles in his 12 appearances and Pettinato started three games and had one sack, both as true freshmen.

And a true freshman this season, linebacker Dakota Conwell, also proved to be back at full strength last weekend after missing the first two weeks.

“[Conwell] would have been in the mix sooner, [but] he had a sore foot,” Rodriguez said. “He’s a guy that we’re hoping to get more reps to spell the linebacker a little bit.”

Conwell had only one tackle in his first career game, but it was a big one — the Wildcats’ only sack of the night.

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