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Football Notes: Arizona uses extra week to prepare for Oregon

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Ryan Revock / The Daily Wildcat

Arizona football travels to No. 2 Oregon this week after routing the Ducks 42-16 in Tucson last year.

In 2013, the Wildcats knocked No. 5 Oregon out of a Bowl Championship Series bowl with the blow out. This season, the two face off on Thursday night on ESPN with both squads being 4-0.

Arizona football head coach Rich Rodriguez said he thinks the revenge factor is overplayed a bit, and that Oregon will be ready because of what is at stake.

“It may be a little extra motivation in preparation,” Rodriguez said. “I think once the ball’s kicked off, whatever happened last year is in the past.”

Arizona has beaten a ranked team in nine of the last 10 seasons. The Wildcats’ last road win over a ranked team was in 2009, when they beat No. 20 USC.

Redshirt senior safety Jared Tevis said Oregon seems more composed this year.

“I love playing Oregon,” Tevis said. “it’s always a great opportunity. I think if we can play with physicality, we can get to them a little bit.”

Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost said that Tevis is one of his favorite Pac-12 Conference players.

“He goes really hard,” Frost said to The Register-Guard. “We have a challenge ahead.”

Tevis is fifth in the Pac-12 in tackles and said he talked to Frost about it at Pac-12 Media Day over the summer.

“They call me ‘the assassin’ in the film room up there, so I took that as a big compliment,” Tevis said.

Scooby dooby do

This season’s move to middle linebacker seems to have agreed with sophomore Scooby Wright III. The sophomore leads the Pac-12 and is seventh in the nation in tackles with 12.8 per game.

“Scooby’s our most consistent player on defense,” Rodriguez said.
He had 18 tackles against California, which is the most for a Wildcat since 1999.

After the Cal game, Wright III, whose Twitter handle is @TwoStarScoob, tweeted: “I just wanna say thank you to CAL for saying I wasn’t good enough to play at their program or the PAC 12 #motivation #tacklingfuel.”

Rodriguez said he didn’t see any negatives when recruiting Wright III.

“I immediately asked, ‘Who do we got to beat to recruit him?’ and there wasn’t really a whole lot,” Rodriguez said. “I didn’t know he had two stars. I thought he had one.”

Wright III is from Windsor, Calif. Wright III, whose legal name is Phillip, was rated as a two-star recruit by Rivals and Scout and is tied for seventh in the nation tackles for loss with 1.8 per game and ninth in the NCAA in solo tackles with 7.3 per game.

“We gotta have a big game out of Scooby on Thursday night,” Rodriguez said.

Wilson expected to play

True freshman running back Nick Wilson, who left the Cal game with a head injury, is expected to play Thursday. Rodriguez said Wilson has been held out of full contact in practice as a precaution but that he’ll be ready to go at Oregon.

After four games of being listed as the back-up, Wilson is now listed on the top line of the depth chart with senior Terris Jones-Grigsby.

“We feel now we have two starting tailbacks,” Rodriguez said last week in the Pac-12 teleconference. “They’ll probably share equal time or close to it.”

Wilson is averaging 120.5 yards per game rushing, while Jones-Grigsby, who has battled an ankle injury, is averaging 76 yards per game on the ground.

Saturday night lights, again

On Monday, the Pac-12 announced that Arizona’s next home game, Oct. 11 against No. 16 USC will be at 7:30 p.m. and air on ESPN2.

This is Arizona’s fourth home game that kicks off at 7 p.m. or later. So far, the only home game to be scheduled to start during the day is the regular season finale on Black Friday against ASU, which kicks off at 1:30 p.m.

The Nov. 8 homecoming game against Colorado and the Nov. 15 date with Washington do not have times yet. The USC game is Family Weekend.
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Follow James Kelley on Twitter @jameskelley520

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