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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Football notes: Rodriguez wants to use Oklahoma State game as momentum builder; Buckner welcomes trash talk

Travis Heying
Oklahoma State's Joseph Randle runs the ball against Kansas State at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas, on Saturday, October 30, 2010. Oklahoma State defeated Kansas State, 24-14. (Travis Heying/Wichita Eagle/MCT)

Sandwiched between what many may have penciled in as Arizona wins against Toledo and South Carolina State is Oklahoma State, a top-25 team that boasts one of the best and most productive offenses in the country, especially after putting up 84 points on an overmatched Savannah State team last Saturday.

Although Saturday night’s game will be a challenge in all aspects, Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez said he doesn’t mind the timing of the game, when other coaches may have lobbied to play a highly ranked opponent after South Carolina State.

“You’re going to play them when you play them,” Rodriguez said after Tuesday’s practice. “I haven’t thought about it that much. A lot of times it’s your opening opponent and if you have a young team coming in, you don’t want to play a top-10 or top-20 ranked team in your opener — but if you’re going to play them, you might as well play them when you’re relatively healthy.”

Not to say the Wildcats are relatively healthy, with eight players named on last week’s injury report, plus left guards Chris Putton and Cayman Bundage leaving Saturday’s game due to injuries, but Rodriguez said Arizona is not in too bad of a shape.

If the Wildcats can pull off the upset, Rodriguez and his team can use this game as a momentum builder before next week and the start of their conference schedule, like his 2002 West Virginia team did in a night game against Cincinnati in his second year as head coach.

“At that point, we hadn’t won a road game, and we won kind of in the last second, and that gave us some momentum,” Rodriguez said. “This one here, I don’t want us to have any regrets from the standpoint of knowing we could have prepared better or played better, because you don’t have this opportunity to play a ranked team at home at night in a great atmosphere. We have to make the most of it.”

Buckner is OK with trash talk

Senior receiver Dan Buckner, a former Texas Longhorn who transferred to Arizona following his sophomore season, is quite familiar with Oklahoma State.

After all, this will be his fifth time playing the Cowboys, including two lopsided losses the last two seasons as a Wildcat.

This week, Buckner, who is coming off a 10 reception and 116-yard performance against Toledo addressed the potential for trash talk on the field, especially after the way Arizona has been dismantled by the Cowboys the last two seasons, 73-24.

“I don’t really get flustered in games, when they’re talking to me I’m cool to talk,” Buckner said. “I’m a happy-go-lucky person. I laugh at things like that. When people talk trash, I laugh at them.
What can you do if people are talking trash and you laugh at them? There’s nothing you can say, so I’m just going to have a smile on my face and play my game.”

In addition to that, Buckner recognized the importance of playing the Cowboys at home for the first time. The 2010 Alamo Bowl was held in San Antonio, Texas and last year’s contest was at Oklahoma State.

“Being at home with the crazy Zona Zoo is definitely going to help,” Buckner said. “They’re crazy. They’re loud, they’re going to scream, it’s definitely going to help us and be big for us on third down and things like that. As a team, we just have to come out firing, guns blazing so that way we can keep our crowd into it the whole game.”

No touchdowns for Quinn

In one of the final scrimmages of fall camp, dubbed the first annual “Beanie Bowl,” center Kyle Quinn did something a little bit out of his comfort zone.

Running an option play that featured a pitch to senior receiver Terrence Miller, Quinn ran behind Miller, stole the ball and rumbled down the field for a long touchdown to close the scrimmage.

When asked if there might be a repeat of his touchdown run on Saturday, Quinn said he’ll just be sticking to his usual job description.

“I highly doubt it,” Quinn said, laughing. “I’ll let Terrence catch the ball. I’ll just block for him next time that happens.”

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