Second Level is Solid 20070410 Outlook - Defense 2: LBs Solid - The University of Arizona Official Athletic Site

Second Level is Solid

 
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20070410 Outlook - Defense 2: LBs Solid
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 04/10/2007
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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"> </P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><FONT face=Arial><STRONG><FONT size=4>Second Level is Solid<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p></FONT></STRONG></FONT></I></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt"><o:p><FONT face=Arial> </FONT></o:p></SPAN></I></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt"><FONT face=Arial>Coach: Tim Kish </FONT></SPAN></I></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt"><FONT face=Arial></FONT></SPAN></I> </P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt"><FONT face=Arial><o:p>- Get to the front, not the back of any lines with some <A class=ARTICLELINK href="/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=275787">Season Tickets</A> to 2007 football -</o:p></FONT></SPAN></I></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt"><FONT face=Arial><o:p></o:p></FONT></SPAN></I> </P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" align=center><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt"><FONT face=Arial><o:p>*******</o:p></FONT></SPAN></I></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt"><o:p><FONT face=Arial> </FONT></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><FONT face=Arial>Whenever <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:State w:st="on">Arizona</st1:State></st1:place> played a highly-ranked team in the past few years inevitably some scribes noted, of the supposed mismatch, that the Cats had only a handful of guys who could play for the opposition. Linebacker Spencer Larsen always was picked.<o:p></o:p></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><o:p><FONT face=Arial> </FONT></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><FONT face=Arial>Not a hard guess. And if <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Arizona</st1:place></st1:State> had pulled out a few more victories last year, doubtless he might have earned more than his second-team all-conference honor. He&rsquo;s 100-tackles good at the weak side spot.<o:p></o:p></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><o:p><FONT face=Arial> </FONT></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><FONT face=Arial>He didn&rsquo;t quite get that many hits last year, leading the squad with 89. Add in junior middle linebacker Ronnie Palmer&rsquo;s 69 and senior Sam linebacker Dane Krogstad&rsquo;s 41, and it&rsquo;s clear the level of defense has improved from the days free safeties led the squad in tackles. UA&rsquo;s second level of defense played strong and is poised with those three veterans to have more of an impact in 2007.</FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><FONT face=Arial></FONT></SPAN> </P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt"><o:p><FONT face=Arial> </FONT></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><FONT face=Arial>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m blessed to have three guys like that,&rdquo; says linebacker coach Tim Kish.<o:p></o:p></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><o:p><FONT face=Arial> </P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><FONT face=Arial>Larsen and Krogstad are seniors and Palmer's a junior. Key backups have some experience in sophomore Xavier Kelley and junior James Alford.</FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"></SPAN> </P></FONT></o:p></SPAN> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><FONT face=Arial>Krogstad gave way in formation play to the nickel back, otherwise his tackles numbers would be higher ? his safety sub Marcus Hollingsworth had 31 tackles last year as a senior. <o:p></o:p></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><o:p><FONT face=Arial> </FONT></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><FONT face=Arial>The find at linebacker in early 2007 is a kid from <st1:State w:st="on">Texas</st1:State> who played his senior year of high school in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Phoenix</st1:place></st1:City> and slipped through the cracks, middle linebacker Cole Graybill. <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Kish</st1:City></st1:place> said the 6-2, 235 pound redshirt freshman is going to be a player, and earned serious rotation time in spring ball. Coaches anticipate awarding him a scholarship after the year. Graybill spent a lot of time studying the system after last season and said that knowing what to do has freed him to play some free-wheeling ball.</FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><FONT face=Arial></FONT></SPAN> </P><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><FONT face=Arial><o:p> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"> <TABLE borderColor=black cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=2 bgColor=white border=0> <P> <TBODY> <TR> <TD><IMG id=SCALEPHOTO alt="" src="http://www.nmnathletics.com.edgesuite.net/pics11/200/BK/BKUOSIXNJBKILER.20070409195747.jpg"></TD> <TD><IMG id=SCALEPHOTO alt="" src="http://www.nmnathletics.com.edgesuite.net/pics24/200/TA/TAYAZGTICCBWUHW.20070409195444.jpg"></TD> <TD><IMG id=SCALEPHOTO alt="" src="http://www.nmnathletics.com.edgesuite.net/pics12/200/TJ/TJZQGISPEBWJXIO.20060913155431.jpg"></TD></TR> <TR> <TD> <P align=center><FONT size=1><EM>Spencer Larsen</EM></FONT></P></TD> <TD> <P align=center><FONT size=1><EM>Ronnie Palmer</EM></FONT></P></TD> <TD> <P align=center><FONT size=1><EM>Dane Krogstad</EM></FONT></P></TD></TR> <P></P> <P></P></P></TABLE></P></o:p></FONT></SPAN> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><o:p><FONT face=Arial> </FONT></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><FONT face=Arial>Sophomore Kelley played in all 12 games on special teams and in spots, and is developing nicely behind Larsen. Junior two-year letterman <st1:PersonName w:st="on">Alford</st1:PersonName>, playing behind Krogstad, has the wheels to play on special teams and the perseverance to keep at it in the quest for a bigger piece of action. He was one of Stoops&rsquo; very first recruits, joining the program at mid-year in December 2003, and will be in the first group of Stoops' fifth-year guys next year.<o:p></o:p></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><o:p><FONT face=Arial> </FONT></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face=Arial><st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt">Arizona</SPAN></st1:place></st1:State><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"> signed a pair of cousins, Vuna Tuihalamaka and Apaiata Tuihalamaka, for fall. Vuna was a first-team junior college All-American, and Apaiata had All-American prep credentials as an outside linebacker. How ready they are is an August question, but UA should have the benefit of pointing out the action on the field and showing them how it&rsquo;s done in Larsen, Palmer and Krogstad.</SPAN></FONT></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face=Arial><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"></SPAN></FONT> </P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face=Arial><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt">Palmer's ability puts him in position to be a difference maker this year and superior fifth-year senior leader on the Wildcats' defense in 2008.</SPAN></FONT></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><o:p><FONT face=Arial> </FONT></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><FONT face=Arial>Top Linebackers<o:p></o:p></FONT></SPAN></B></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 8pt"><FONT face=Arial>Spencer Larsen, 6-1, 236, Sr., 3L<o:p></o:p></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 8pt"><FONT face=Arial>Ronnie Palmer, 6-3, 239, Jr., 2L<o:p></o:p></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 8pt"><FONT face=Arial>Dane Krogstad, 6-2, 236, Sr., 3L<o:p></o:p></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 8pt"><FONT face=Arial>Xavier Kelley, 6-0, 200, So., 1L<o:p></o:p></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 8pt"><FONT face=Arial>James Alford, 6-1, 22, Jr., 2L<o:p></o:p></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 8pt"><FONT face=Arial>Cole Graybill, 6-3, 236, Fr-RS<o:p></o:p></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face=Arial><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 8pt">Fall Recruits</SPAN></B><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 8pt">: Vuna Tuihalamaka, 6-2, 220, Jr.; Api Tuihalamaka, 6-3, 210, Fr.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></FONT></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o:p><FONT face=Arial> </FONT></o:p></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face=Arial><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"> <TABLE borderColor=black cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=2 align=left bgColor=white border=0> <P> <TBODY> <TR> <TD><IMG id=SCALEPHOTO alt="" src="http://admin.xosn.com//pics/160/PN/PNKZTFLPEEZBAVP.20070409200316.jpg"></TD> <TD><IMG id=SCALEPHOTO alt="" src="http://admin.xosn.com//pics3/160/RX/RXFJOGBWFKCKPHE.20060328180958.jpg"></TD></TR> <TR> <TD> <P align=center><FONT size=1>Xavier kelley</FONT></P></TD> <TD> <P align=center><FONT size=1>James Alford</FONT></P></TD></TR> <P></P> <P></P></P></TABLE>Position Notes...</SPAN></I></B><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"> Linebackers coach Tim Kish has been honored nationally for his recruiting prowess in both 2005 and 2006... Larsen was a second-team All-Pac-10 pick and 1<SUP>st</SUP>-team All-Academic selection... He and his wife, Ann, are expecting their first child in April, a son likely to be named Spencer... Larsen was the first UA linebacker since Lance Briggs to lead the team in tackles with his 89 a year ago... Kish says the Mike linebacker makes the official defensive call in the huddle although pretty much everyone on the unit is supposed to be keying on sideline coaches to know the scheme for any given play... Two years ago UA&rsquo;s defensive growth was slowed when Larsen, Palmer and Krogstad combined to miss 15 games, never starting together in &rsquo;05... Krogstad is often a defender with the freshest legs at games' end, with UA substituting a nickel back for his position in many passing situations... Linebackers had half of UA's 12 forced fumbles in 2006 led by Larsena and Palmer with a pair each, while Larsen led the team with three fumble recoveries to put him in the action on five of the team's 22 (defensive) fumble statistics... Palmer led 'backers with two interceptions while Larsen and Krogstad each had one and the trio knocked down 10 passes combined in 2006... Mike Stoops, whose assisting coaching career was centered on the secondary and coordinating, pays a lot of attention in practices to linebacker play, as much as the secondary players. If he sees a guy take the wrong hole or gap, watch out... </SPAN></FONT></P>
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