Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Outlook Part 2 - QBs
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: April 05, 2007
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Offense ?- Coordinator Sonny Dykes



Making the Right Decisions


QB Coach:  Sonny Dykes


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Last year the Wildcats completed nine touchdown passes.  Sonny Dykes helped direct a Texas Tech system that completed five or more in three games, and three or more in seven different games.


Nothing’s promised, of course, but the point is inescapable ?- scoring them by throwing the ball. Arizona’s going to give it a go with the prolific chain-moving, quick-strike action employed at Tech. To do it, Stoops brought in Dykes and Tech’s offensive line/running assistant, and new receivers and running backs coaches. Joining Dykes were Bill Bedenbaugh, Darrell Wyatt and Michael Smith, respectively.


Stoops took care assembling his new offensive staff and the bottom line was finding a way to move the ball consistently. The benefit in a

makeover this year comes from the fact UA’s defense will be so good that there’s some major support to use patience in defining the new offensive identity.


For Dykes, that will start with quarterbacks, notably junior Willie Tuitama and redshirt freshman Tyler Lyon. The Cats also bring back Kris Heavner, a fifth-year veteran.


A year ago Tuitama essentially missed three starts and much of five games overall after a series of hard hits to the helmet. That not only slowed his development but took one of the Cats’ best players out of the action.  The quick-strike offense, built around swift pressure and more pressure via moving the ball all over the field, should help take some of the pressure off Willie. Plus a year of duty and some new schemes for young linemen will help even more.


Tuitama’s career is yet to be defined, though his two brief seasons (15 games) have shown sparkle that begs for good health and a full year’s worth of growth. Coaches feel he’s capable of 60-percent throwing and have a system that will take advantage of his ability to throw the ball anywhere on the field. He’s accurate and studies the game. He earned freshman All-America honorable mention in his five-game ’05 debut and is the perfect tool for UA’s re-tooling. Lyon, 6-foot-5, has been appointed his understudy and Heavner has been around the block enough to be a solid reserve as a fifth-year senior.



Top QBs

Willie Tuitama, 6-3, 225, Jr., 2L

Tyler Lyon, 6-5, 220, Fr-RS

Kris Heavner, 6-3, 230, Sr., 3L

Fall Recruit: Bryson Beirne, 6-3, 215, Fr.


Position Notes... The Arizona record for passing attempts is 430 by the 2002 team (mostly Jason Johnson) in 12 games. That squad also posted the record of 246 completions and the most yards per game ?- 290. Those marks are in jeopardy based on Stoops’ projection about throwing the ball 45 times. Hopefully, too, Willie and friends can contest the record 27 touchdown throws by the 1997 team (Keith Smith, Ortege Jenkins, Dennis Northcutt, et al)... Heavner has more career starts (15) than Tuitama (13), some of those (like Willie) as a mid-year appointee as a true freshman, in his case 2003... 2007 True freshman Bryson Beirne spent the first week in spring camp on his own quest from Hawaii to learn more about the new system...  Senior receiver Anthony Johnson started one game at quarterback for UA last year in a speed-option try against OSU, and you can forget that notion this year...  The Cats have some other young guys at QB, walk-on mid-year freshman Jimmy Bevell and second-year squadmen John Sanders and Jimmy Donaldson...

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