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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Safety a Golden opportunity

    Alan Walsh/ Arizona Daily Wildcat
    Alan Walsh
    Alan Walsh/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

    With spring football comes spring cleaning, and that is no exception for the Arizona football team’s secondary.

    As it turned out, however, they just moved some things around instead.

    Arizona head coach Mike Stoops announced at the commencement of spring football that the Wildcats would move sophomore defensive back Robert Golden from cornerback to safety.

    Golden, one of Arizona’s most highly touted recruits last season, played on special teams and sparingly in the secondary last season as a true freshman, making 13 tackles and forcing a fumble.

    “”Robert has played outstanding and looks great,”” Stoops said. “”The transition has been easy and he is making plays. I think he’s got a chance to be a great one.

    “”(The move) is going much better than I thought,”” Stoops added. “”He is a guy that is very contentious. Safeties have to know and see the field very well and he seems to have a great knack for the position.””

    When joining the Wildcats as a freshman last season, many felt Golden was the next in line to take over for perhaps one of the best cornerbacks who has played at Arizona, Antoine Cason.

    While that may no longer be the case in terms of stepping up at cornerback, the Wildcats’ coaching staff knows the sky is the limit for Golden.

    The move was initially embraced by Golden just because he would have the chance to see the field more often, but in spring drills the sophomore seems to be thriving in his new position.

    “”The transition is going really well and I am in the position where I feel more comfortable back there now,”” Golden said. “”I am playing a lot looser out there now. It isn’t really that big of a difference, but at safety you have a lot more responsibility.””

    With all the hype surrounding Golden before his arrival in Tucson from Edison High School in Fresno, Calif., most thought the sophomore would be a mainstay in the Wildcats’ lineup.

    But when the cornerback position became crowded with emergence of Trevin Wade and the return of starter Devin Ross, the Wildcat coaching staff wanted to get as many playmakers on the field at the same time as possible.

    Moving Golden turned out to be a wise choice.

    “”He is doing really good and I like (the move) a lot,”” said defensive coordinator Mark Stoops. “”He is further along than I thought he would be. He has great natural instincts and playmaking ability.””

    Turning over a new leaf

    For cornerback Mike Turner, sitting out all last season after being suspended for breaking team rules, was pretty tough.

    Getting back into the swing of things this season could be even tougher.

    Turner, however, hopes to step back into his role at cornerback and contribute to the team like the Arizona coaching staff thought he would coming in as a highly-touted recruit three years ago.

    “”Last year was tough and got to me at times,”” Turner said of the suspension. “”I feel good now. I feel like nothing is stopping me and I don’t feel like I am behind. Now that I am back on the field, I don’t even feel like I missed a year.””

    Turner has become accustomed during his time at Arizona to feeling pressure to perform, but after stints on both offense and defense in addition to the suspension, the defensive back has thus far failed to live up to the potential.

    That, however, is what drives Turner.

    “”I put myself in a hole and I need to get out of the trench,”” Turner said. “”I need to show Mike and Mark Stoops and the rest of the defensive coaches that I am the 5-star player that I came as.””

    With Golden’s move to safety, that opens the door up a little more for Turner to get some heavy looks at cornerback, an opportunity he hasn’t had given that he played under Cason and Wilrey Fontenot in 2007 – two players who were selected in the NFL Draft.

    The coaching staff is looking forward to getting Turner back into the swing of things.

    “”He has been consistent, and that is the biggest thing I wanted to see out of him (this spring),”” Mark Stoops said. “”He was with us all year (last season) practicing hard and keeping in good shape, so we are expecting him to continue to be solid.””

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