Season in Review
Consistency and improvement were the keys to
Forget Old Mother Hubbard
The cupboard for
Offensive Returners (Yr in 2006)
WR Syndric Steptoe, Sr.
37 rec., 493 yards, 49.3 avg., 1 TD, 73 rushing yards WR Anthony Johnson, Sr.
32 rec., 419 yards, 38.1 avg., 3 TD WR Mike Thomas, So.
52 rec., 771 yards, 70.1 avg., 5 TD, 40 rushing yards, TD WR BJ Dennard, Jr.
7 rec., 72 yards WR Mike Jefferson, Sr.
4 rec. 64 yards OL Peter Graniello, Jr.
10 starts in 2005, 21 career starts at LT OL Erick Levitre, Sr.
11 starts in 2005, 12 career starts at C OL Tanner Bell, Sr.
11 starts in 2005, 18 career starts at RT OL Joe Longacre, So.
4 starts in RS freshman season at RG OL Adam Hawes, Sr.
3 starts in 2005 for JC transfer at LG TE Brad Wood, Sr.
27 rec., 304 yards, 6 TD TE Travis Bell, So.
4 rec., 42 yards, 2 TD QB Willie Tuitama, So.
82 of 142, 1,105 yards, 221.0 avg., 9 TD, 5 Int. QB Richard Kovalcheck, Jr.
125 of 220, 1,351 yards, 168.0 avg., 10 TD, 11 Int. FB Brandon Lopez, So.
4 rec., 35 yards RB Chris Henry, Jr.
34 att., 119 yards, 3.5 avg. Defensive Returners
CB Wilrey Fontenot, Jr.
51 tackles (36-15), 2 Int, 6 PBU CB Antoine Cason, Jr.
50 tackles (38-12), 2.5 TFL, 3 Int, 5 PBU SS Michael Johnson, Sr.
60 tackles (40-20), 4.5 TFL, 4 Int, Def. TD, 4 PBU NB M. Hollingsworth, Sr.
41 tackles (26-15), 6 TFL, 2 sacks, Int, 4 PBU LB Spencer Larsen, Jr.
51 tackles (29-22), 2.5 TFL, 1 sack, 1 PBU LB Ronnie Palmer, So.
38 tackles (18-20), 2 TFL, 1.5 sacks LB Dane Krogstad, Jr.
38 tackles (29-9), 4 TFL, 2 sacks, PBU LB John McKinney, Sr.
25 tackles (16-9), 5.5 TFL, 0.5 sack LB Akin Akinniyi, Sr.
17 tackles (15-2), 1.5 TFL, 2 PBU DE Jonathan Turner, So.
27 tackles (13-14), 4 TFL, 1.5 sacks, PBU DE Marcus Smith, Sr.
7 tackles (3-4), FR DL Yaniv Barnett, Jr.
27 tackles (15-12), 3 TFL, sack, 2 PBU DL Lionel Dotson, Jr.
21 tackles, (10-11), 3 PBU, 1 FF DL Paul Philipp
3 tackles (3-0), 2 TFL, FF Special Teams Returners
PK Nick Folk
7 of 11 FG, long 51 yards, 31 of 33 PAT, 38 of 53 KO TB LS Sy Tomerlin
Played in eight games, punt snapper LS Garen McHone
Played in all 11 games, place kick snapper KR/PR Syndric Steptoe
20 PR, 221 yards, 11.1 avg. TD, 19 KR, 484 yards, 25.5 avg. KR BJ Dennard
6 KR, 127 yards, 21.2 avg.
The Cats lose, on offense, running back Mike Bell, guards Kili Lefotu and John Abramo, and sometime fullback starter (and No. 2 tailback) Gilbert Harris. On defense the Cats lose All-Pac-10 safety Darrell Brooks and second-team all-league DE Copeland Bryan. Other key departing seniors include second-team All-Pac-10 punter Danny Baugher, four-year letterman safety Lamon Means and four-year letterman (fullback and LB) Sean Jones. The Cats also lose sometime starters in linebacker Randy Sims, fullback Pedro Limon and jumbo tight end/tackle Brad Brittain, plus scout teamers in defensive tackle Greg Tate and safety Andrew Ford.
Tanner Bell and Marcus Smith will be back on medical hardship years --
Postseason Pac Honors
WR Mike Thomas was feted with Co-Pac-10 Freshman of the Year honors ... FS Darrell Brooks was tabbed first-team All-Pac-10 ... DE Copeland Bryan, CB Antoine Cason and P Danny Baugher all garnered second-team honors ... RB Mike Bell, OL Peter Graniello, PK/P Nick Folk, SS Michael Johnson and WR Syndric Steptoe were all honorable mention ... Brooks was the lone first-team All-Pac-10 player in the conference to also earn first team all-academic honors from the Pac-10 as well ... Others recognized for their academic achievements by the Pac-10 were Spencer Larsen (second team), Akin Akinnyi (HM), Nick Folk (HM), Richard Kovalcheck (HM) and Erick Levitre (HM).
Wide receiver Mike Thomas' selection as Pac-10 Freshman of the Year (co-honor with OSU guard Jeremy Perry) put him in some select company. The league began naming its top freshman in 1999 with its citation of USC's Kareem Kelly, followed by ASU's Terrell Suggs (2000), co-honorees Teyo Johnson of Stanford and Reggie Williams of UW (2001), Mike Williams of USC (2002), Brandon Browner of OSU (2003) and Zach Miller of ASU (2004). Thomas joins some serious former Cats on the charts since the Pac-10 began naming Players of the Year in 1975 (with RB Chuck Muncie of
Pac-10 Top Squad
UA graduate safety Darrell Brooks' selection to the first-team defense unit of the 2005 All-Pacific-10 Conference squad represents Arizona's first top pick since a trio made the first units in 2002 -- wide receiver Bobby Wade, linebacker Lance Briggs and special teams stalwart Ray Wells. Briggs was a three-time pick, also making it in 2000 and 2001, while Wade was a first-team return specialist in 2000 and tailback Clarence Farmer made it in 2001. Those are the UA's picks for the first team in this millennium. 2005 second-team selection Antoine Cason, a cornerback, appears to have a good shot at the first unit in his third season next year, with seven career interceptions and an every-snap background to take into his junior campaign. Others looking to gain some recognition in 2006 include PK Nick Folk, OL Peter Graniello and SS Michael Johnson.
Quick Hits From 2005
- Senior RB Mike Bell posted the most successful season in his four-year UA career.
- True freshman WR Mike Thomas re-wrote the UA rookie record book with 52 catches for 771 yards and five receiving scores. Thomas also added 40 yards rushing and a running score in his first season at UA.
- True frosh QB Willie Tuitama proved to be good as advertised in just five games played. Pulled out of his redshirt season in the first quarter against
- JC transfer Michael Johnson took over the starting strong safety spot midway through the year and finished second on the team in total tackles (60) and led all UA players with four interceptions, including three at
- Senior punter Danny Baugher led the nation in punting with a 47.5 yards per kick average before going down with a season-ending knee injury after attempting to return a blocked kick against Oregon. Despite the injury, Baugher was still named one of three national finalists for the Ray Guy Award.
- Baugher set a pair of Pac-10 and school punting records in 2005. Against NAU he set the single game record for highest punting average (59.7) and a week later helped set the record for highest team average (57.6) in a single game against No. 11 Purdue.
- After Baugher’s injury junior Nick Folk did double duty as the PK/P. Folk averaged 44.7 yards per punt in filling in for his down teammate and finished the year 7 for 11 on field goal chances and 31 of 33 on PAT chances.
- Folk’s big leg proved to be an asset on kickoffs. 38 of his 53 kicks were touchbacks and the opposition averaged just 19.8 yards on his 14 returnable kicks.
- Senior FS Darrell Brooks led the team in tackles for a second straight season, finishing with a career-best 93 total stops (62-31).
- Injuries took it toll on the
- The defensive line also had its fair share of injuries. Starting Sr. DEs Marcus Smith (leg, 9 games lost) and Copeland Bryan (ankle, 3 games lost) both missed significant time and So. DL Paul Philipp was never 100 percent. The injuries pushed So. DL Lionel Dotson, So. DL Yaniv Barnett and RS-Fr. DE Jonathan Turner into starting roles.
- Junior WR/KR Syndric Steptoe proved to be a multiple threat after finishing with 37 receptions for 493 yards, 8 rushes for 73 yards, 20 punt returns for 221 yards and 19 kickoff returns for 484 yards (a total of 1,271 all-purpose yards in 10 games). Against No. 7 UCLA, Steptoe became the first punt returner at UA to bring back a kick for a TD since Bobby Wade in 2000. He has 1,271 all-purpose yards in his three-year career, just 899 shy of UA’s all-time top 10.
- Junior TE Brad Wood led all players with six TDs in 2005. It was the most receiving TDs in a single season since Bobby Wade hauled in eight TD passes in 2002.
Upswings in 2005
+8 points per game
29 ppg last 4 games; 13 more TDs Passing
19 TDs passing Offense
400 ypg last 4 outings Net Punting
+.9 yards per punt
Huge w/TB factor Punting
+2 yards per punt
Baugher/Folk shared Third Down
14 more sets of downs Attendance
96 % of capacity
Getting To the Point
3 PBU, 1 FR, 2 FF 2003
3 PBU, 1 FR, 1 INT 2004
9 PBU, 1 FF, 1 INT 2005
2 PBU, 2 FF, 2 INT Totals
17 PBU, 5 FF, 2 FR, 6 INT
With 153 yards on the ground against UCLA on Nov. 5, senior Mike Bell became just the fifth player in school history to eclipse the career 3,000 yard rushing mark. His 952 yards total in 2005 pushed him all the way to fourth on the all-time rushing list.
Trung Canidate (1996-99)
3,824 yards (604 att.) 2
Ontiwaun Carter (1991-94)
3,501 yards (805 att.) 3
Art Luppino (1953-56)
3,371 yards (513 att.) 4
Mike Bell (2002-2005)
3,163 yards (678 att.) 5
Hubie Oliver (1977-80)
3,096 yards (649 att.)
Hitting the Century Mark
Including a 117-yard effort in his final game at UA on Nov. 25, senior running back Mike Bell rushed for 100 or more yards in a game 11 times in his career. When doing so, he amassed 1,576 rushing yards, 12 TDs and averaged 6.7 yards per carry.
Mike Bell’s 100-yard Games
Avg. Aug. 30, 2003
UTEP (W, 42-7)
at Cal (L, 42-14)
9.6 Nov. 1, 2003
at Oregon State (L, 52-23)
4.2 Nov. 8, 2003
Washington (W, 27-22)
8.5 Sept. 4, 2004
Northern Arizona (W, 21-3)
4.1 Oct. 9, 2004
at UCLA (L, 31-17)