Sept. 5, 2011
Television Broadcast: ESPN, ESPN3 and ESPN 3D TV Commentators: Rece Davis (pxp), Craig James (analyst), Jesse Palmer (analyst) and Jenn Brown (reporter)
ESPN 3D Commentators: Carter Blackburn (pxp); Brock Huard (analyst); Ray Bentley (reporter)
UA Radio: Arizona Radio Network, 1290 AM Tucson (see page 4 of this release for complete list of affiliates)
UA Radio Commentators: Brian Jeffries (pxp), Lamont Lovett (color analyst), Dana Cooper (sideline analyst)
Touchdown Radio Network: Roxy Bernstein (pxp), Gino Torretta (analyst), Steve White (studio host)
Satellite Radio: XM 193 (UA radio call), XM 91 (OSU radio call)
Series Record: Oklahoma State leads, 4-3
First Meeting: 1931 - Oklahoma State 31, Arizona 0 at Stillwater, Okla.
Last Meeting: 2010 -- Oklahoma State 36, Arizona 10 at San Antonio, Texas (Valero Alamo Bowl)
Streak: Teams have split last two meetings Mike Stoopsvs. OSU: 0-1 Mike Gundy vs. UA: 1-0
Some Game Themes
Arizona gets an early measure of its offseason work against the team that punctuated its 2010 season with a convincing victory over the Cats in the Valero Alamo Bowl last December... The Wildcats start the front-loaded end of the schedule with a grueling See You in September string (with Stanford, Oregon and USC up next)... A game matching some dynamic throw-and-catch duos in UA's Nick Foles/Juron Criner and OSU's Brandon Weeden/Justin Blackmon... Can Arizona put the damper on Oklahoma State's eye-popping 10-for-10 effectiveness inside the red zone?.. A reality check on some of the gaudy stuff put up by both clubs in their openers against teams without the same talent level last week... Can UA's new offensive line thwart a Cowboys pass rush that notched five sacks against Louisiana? Can Arizona's defense put a leash on OSU RB Joseph Randle as it did against the Cowboys' running game (72 net yards) in San Antonio?... Will Arizona play the quick-strike style that saw it average 4 plays and 1:20 to score five of its six TDs a week ago?... Arizona halts non-conference play after this one, waiting until the final weekend on Nov. 26 to play host to the same Louisiana club that traveled to Stillwater last week, while OSU takes a modest road trip to Tulsa next week to wrap up non-league action... A match of two schools in the conjecture of late about mega-conferences and college football consolidation... Arizona gets another taste of major-college football major benefaction in a trip to Boone Pickens Stadium, a middle-America view to go with its familiarity of similar doings in north-central Oregon...
The Wildcats got the job done in a solid 41-10 victory over in-state rival Northern Arizona of the FCS before a crowd of 51,761 in Arizona Stadium. UA got out of the gate quickly with a three-and-out on defense and then a 3-play, 54-yard, 47-second drive spearheaded by Nick Foles' passing. Foles kept it up, despite a second-quarter lull, finishing the game with a career-high five touchdown passes to five different receivers, 412 yards and no interceptions, completing 81 percent (34) of his 42 throws. Senior Juron Criner notched his seventh career 100-yard game with 151 markers on six catches, one for a score. Foles, who'd had a fine week of practice finding different guys, gave three guys their first Arizona touchdowns -- sophomore inside guy Richard Morrison, and outside guys Austin Hill (RS frosh) and Gino Crump (senior). It was a first game with a new offensive line and the newness there helped accumulate 10 penalties (74 yards) that UA overcame with its quick-strike passing. NAU held the ball for 13 minutes more but couldn't find many scoring opportunities except for two drives in the second period. UA made the most of its 62 plays, averaging 7.9 per including a superlative 9.8 yards per pass attempt by Foles. UA's kicking game continued to show some difficulty with a missed field goal and missed PAT by newcomer Jaime Salazar. But, the Cats had a marvelous net punting figure of 49 yards and held NAU to one kickoff return with John Bonano notching six touchbacks on his boots. UA did not turn the ball over and senior cornerback Trevin Wadebroke on an out pattern to notch his 11th career interception. UA converted only two third-down plays -- but had only seven tries and still racked up 24 first downs. Arizona had 30 players make their first appearance in a mix of freshmen, redshirt freshmen, transfers and squad members who earned their first PT.
Arizona - Mike Stoops(Iowa '86), eighth year at Arizona (41-45) and overall as a head coach. Stoops had Arizona in the national rankings for 11 weeks in 2010 and has taken three consecutive teams to bowl games, matching the school's best string. His recruiting and player development programs have put talented players on the field, and solid citizens in the classrooms and community. He has coached national award winners and a combined 33 All-Pac-10 players at Arizona. His Arizona teams have beaten ranked teams each of his seven seasons in Tucson. Arizona's football attendance has flourished in his tenure averaging 53,155 per game, among the Pac-12's best of-capacity (93%) figures. Arizona's football APR mark has improved each of the past six years. He has developed 16 Arizona players selected in the NFL Draft. He was defensive coordinator at Kansas State and Oklahoma from 1996-2003 before his UA appointment and has been on the defensive side since his coaching start in 1986. Oklahoma State - Mike Gundy, seventh year at OSU (48-29), seventh year as a head coach. Gundy's 11-2 mark in 2010 was the school's fourth 10-victory season in its history. He has taken the Cowboys to five consecutive bowl games, a school-best streak. His background is offensive football including a four-year stint as coordinator at OSU before his ascension to the head job, and his career as a Cowboy quarterback.
Mike Stoops'last four clubs have opened the year with 70-0 (Idaho, 2008), 19-6 (Central Michigan, 2009), 41-2 (Toledo, 2010) and 41-10 (NAU this year) one-sided victories. That's a 171-18 margin in season openers during his bowl (hopefully) streak.
The Cats had eight scrimmage plays of 20 yards or more against NAU. Nick Foles passed to Juron Criner for 42, 22, 44 and 28 yards, passed to Keola Antolin for 26 yards, Richard Morrison for 24 yards (TD), and passed to Austin Hillfor 24 yards (TD), while Antolin had a 20-yard run.
Six by Four
Arizona had six players with four or more receptions against NAU in the season opener, not completely unheard of. Nick Foles found six guys four or more times against USC last year, and against Stanford in 2009. The leaders in those games were David Roberts (7-58 vs. NAU), Terrence Miller (7-116 vs. USC) and Juron Criner(12-152 vs. Stanford). Foles average 26 completions per game in 2010 and 21 completions per game in 2009.
Keola A Key
Senior running back Keola Antolin is sometimes a forgotten weapon in the Wildcats' offensive arsenal. Understandably so as QB Nick Foles and WR Juron Crinerreceive much of the acclaim. But the workmanlike Antolin has some play-making ability of his own, evidenced by a nifty 18-yard scoring reception capped by a dive for the pylon last week against Northern Arizona. It was Antolin's third career touchdown reception to go with 21 scores on the ground. Indeed, Antolin has proved to be a versatile option, collecting 1,871 career rushing yards and 362 yards on 57 receptions. He is a preseason candidate for the Doak Walker Award, presented annually to the nation's top running back.
Staring at the Possibly Irrelevant Stats...
You can't make much of a one-game season. Best figure of all is 1-0. But... The game in Stillwater features two of the top four passing attacks in the country, with No. 1 OSU (458) and No. 4 Arizona (412). Can they do it against better competition? No question that's what was expected leading into the year, with both Nick Foles and Brandon Weeden mentioned in this-and-that lists of top QBs, along with top targets Juron Criner and Justin Blackmon, respectively... OSU has seven field goals in its last two games, three by Dan Bailey against Arizona in the Alamo Bowl and four by national leader Quinn Sharp in the ULL game last week. Arizona has three missed FGs and one make in its last two games... Senior defensive end C.J. Parish turned in a solid game in his return after missing the last 11 games (concussion) in 2010 and earning a medical hardship season. The eight hits against NAU matched his career total in 15 backup linebacker/special teams appearances in 2009-10. He recorded a sack among his eight tackles, tied for the team high... Cornerback Shaquille Richardson was said to have "blinked" (according to secondary coach Ryan Walters) during the second quarter of the NAU game, when the Lumberjacks piled up 139 passing yards -- many his way -- of their 179 total. He tied Parish with eight tackles, too many for a cover guy... UA recorded nine tackles for loss against NAU to check in at No. 14 in the country entering the Oklahoma State game. Linebacker Derek Earls led the way with two... Arizona had career-first tackles by nickel back/ST player Jourdon Grandon (4), conerback/ST Cortez Johnson, linebackers Rob Hankins (2) and Hank Hobson (1), defensive end Dan Pettinato (1), linebacker David Lopez (1) and defensive tackle Aiulua Fanene(1) against NAU. Grandon also recorded a forced fumble... Arizona recorded five three-and-out defensive series against the Jacks, and weathered, with backups on the field, a time-consuming 75-yard drive at the end of the game by NAU that was halted at the UA 5 yard-line...
Cats on ESPN
Thursday's national telecast on ESPN will be the first of three straight such games for the Wildcats. After a battle with the Cowboys, the Wildcats host games against Stanford (9/17) and Oregon (9/24), each of which will be televised by ESPN. It's a familiar station to find the Wildcats on in recent years. In 2010, UA played eight of its 13 games on one of the ESPN college football outlets (ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC). The Wildcats closed the 2009 season with four straight contests shown on the "Family of Networks". With three of the first four games in 2011 slated for ESPN, 15 of the last 21 Arizona football games will have been televised by ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC since November of 2009. Later this year, the Wildcats host UCLA (Oct.20) in a Thursday night showdown which will also be televised by ESPN.
Eleven For Trevin
Trevin Wade'sthird quarter interception against Northern Arizona on Sept. 3 was the 11th of his career, which is tied with Air Force's Anthony Wright for most nationally among active players. It puts him just one pick away from tying six former Wildcats for the No. 10 spot in school history. Wade's 10th interception against the Lumberjacks was his first since Sept. 18, 2010, when he had an 85-yard return for a touchdown against Iowa. The 10-game drought without a pick was the longest in Wade's career. He opened his Wildcat career with two interceptions against Idaho on Aug. 30, 2008. He went on to snare two more interceptions his redshirt freshman season, before collecting five in 2009.
A High-Five For Foles
Senior QB Nick Foles established a new career high with five touchdown passes against Northern Arizona on Sept. 3. He finished one shy of the school record held by Tom Tunnicliffe, who had six touchdowns against Pacific on Oct. 23, 1982. Two other QBs reached the high-five mark, including Keith Smith against California in 1996. In 2007, Willie Tuitamahad five touchdowns in a game on three occasions, including against Northern Arizona (Sept. 8), Washington State (Sept.29) and at Washington (Oct. 27).
All In A Day's Work
Suffice it to say, Nick Foles had a productive debut against Northern Arizona. While throwing for 412 yards and five touchdowns, Foles made significant jumps up two of the all-time charts at Arizona. Foles' five touchdown passes improved his career tally to 44, which moved him from No. 7 to No. 4 on the school's top-10 chart. He is on TD shy of Bruce Hill (1973-75) for No. 3 and two shy of Tom Tunnicliffe (1980-83) for No. 2. In terms of passing yards, Foles jumped from No. 7 to No. 3 all-time with now 6,089 passing yards. He's got about over 1,500 yards to go if he is to catch Tunnicliffe (7,618) for No. 2. Willie Tuitama(2005-08) is the school record holder for touchdowns (67) and passing yards (9,211).
In what was perhaps closer than expected, the Wildcats led Northern Arizona by just four points, 14-10, at halftime last Saturday. The Wildcat offense sputtered to open the second half and was forced to punt. The Lumberjacks had to ball with an opportunity to put a go-ahead touchdown drive together. But momentum abruptly changed in a matter of two plays. Senior CB Trevin Wade stepped in front of an out-rout to collect his first interception of the season. On UA's first offensive play after the turnover, Keola Antolin took a swing pass from Nick Folesfor an 18-yard touchdown. The rout was on from there as the Wildcats shut out NAU 27-0 in the second half.
True freshman running back Ka'Deem Careymade the most of his limited opportunities in his first collegiate game. Carey, a local product from Canyon del Oro High School, rushed for a team-high 59 yards on nine carries - all in the fourth quarter. The performance, however, was not the most notable debut for a local running back in school history. In 1994, Arizona opened the season at Georgia Tech when Mountain View High School graduate Kevin Schmidtke gained 92 yards on 17 totes, including the game-winning touchdown with 29 seconds remaining in a 19-14 victory in Atlanta, Ga. Schmidtke, who was a true freshman, did not lead the club in rushing, however. That mark was held by senior Ontiwaun Carter, who collected 151 yards in the game against the Yellow Jackets.
In 2010, Arizona had one of the best trio of defensive ends in the nation: Brooks Reed, Ricky Elmore and D'Aundre Reed were all selected in the NFL draft last April. That left a serious void in spring practice for the Wildcats, who had relied on the three future pros for pass pressure over the course of three straight seasons (66 combined career sacks). But the Wildcats felt good about what they had sitting in waiting. Seniors C.J. Parish and Mohammed Usmanmay not have seen much playing time in 2010, but both were impressive during the spring. Their talent and preparation came together in their first career starts for the Wildcats against Northern Arizona. Parish and Usman each registered their first career sacks in the game, combining for 2.5 tackles for loss in limiting the Lumberjacks to just 80 rushing yards in the game.
Not the Q.T. on the OTs
It was not a surprise when redshirt freshmen offensive tackles Mickey Baucus and Fabbians Ebbele started the NAU game. The 6-foot-8, 300-pound guys were a known commodity last year while redshirting, and in spring ball. Their ascension to the top unit was expected. They're the first frosh guys to earn the roles since current Jacksonville Jaguar Eben Britton started all 12 games in 2006 as a redshirt freshman. Britton played two more years and then left early for the NFL. The two spots have been manned from 2007 by a combination of Britton and junior college transfers (James Tretheway, Mike Diaz, Phillip Garcia) and five-year-plan players (Peter Graniello, Adam Grant). The youth movement bodes well for the Arizona front if these two youngsters grow and develop. Meantime, the two guard spots also were manned by first-time starters, junior Chris Putton and junior Shane Zink, a reserve tackle for two years in the program. Veteran junior Kyle Quinn -- the unit's vocal leader -- notched his second start (also in the Alamo Bowl) at center. Zink got his chance after the final weeks of camp when junior and expected starter Trace Biskinmissed time with a leg injury.
New Faces --And then some.
Arizona put 30 guys on the field against NAU for the first action of their careers last week. Among them were true freshman running back Ka'Deem Carey, true freshman corner Cortez Johnson, true freshman defensive end Reggie Gilbert, true freshman tight end Michael Cooper, true freshman special teams player Dame Ndiaye, true freshman nickel Tramayne Bondurant, true freshman snapper Josh Elias, true freshman special teamer Trevor Ermisch, and true freshman linebackers Rob Hankins and Hank Hobson. Hankins and Elias started. That's a total of 10 brand new guys. Redshirt freshmen included starting tackles Mickey Baucus and Fabbians Ebbele, starting kick returner Garic Wharton, defensive tackles Aiulua Fanene and Sani Fuimaono, nickel back Jourdon Grandon, special teamer Jared Tevis and receivers Austin Hill and Tyler Slavin. Transfers included starting kicker Jaime Salazar, starting punter Kyle Dugandzic, receiver Dan Buckner, linebacker David Lopez, tight end Drew Robinson, guard Addison Bachman. Junior Shane Zink earned his first PT and the start at right guard after toiling as a reserve OT for two years. Former reserve guard Brian Chaconstarted as the short snapper.
Couple of Sixes
Arizona has likely eschewed the power running game it seemed to want to operate under former co-coordinator Bill Bedenbaugh (now at West Virginia), giving Nick Foles and the stable of receivers the focus. Against a smaller NAU team UA ran the ball 20 times, two of those scrambling by Foles. But take away the over-the-punter's-head snap that resulted in a rushing loss of 26 yards, and UA averaged 5.3 yards per run with a combination of Keola Antolin's modest 6-46 evening and Ka'Deem Carey's mop-up 9-59 outing. Both those guys were above the 6.6 yards per tote mark, with Taimi Tutogi adding two runs for eight yards and a five-yard scoring jaunt. Foles found Antolin five times on quick throws to the edge, almost running plays, and he picked up 51 more markers including an 18-yard score through the air. If Antolin's the in-space guy, Carey and Tutogi can operate inside. Backup RB Daniel Jenkins, a sophomore, missed the NAU game with an ankle sprain but could be back for Oklahoma State. His game was a downhill style in camp.
Mid-year junior-college transfer Kyle Dugandzichad a decent inaugural contest with three punts for 50.7 yards apiece, and his hang time and UA's coverage team held NAU to one return for four yards. The net figure of 49 yards per kick is a good start. Dugandzic put all three of his kicks inside the 20 yard-line, with no touchbacks and a fair catch. If he can continue the consistency Arizona will add a weapon it lacked in 2010 when it checked in 98th in the FBS with a net punting figure of 34.1.
Mike Stoops altered his coaching staff in a variety of ways during the offseason. He hired Robert Anae from Birgham Young to coach the offensive line (replacing Bill Bedenbaugh), named Seth Littrell solo offensive coordinator (dropping co- duties with Bedenbaugh), hired Joe Salave'a to coach the defensive line after a stint at San Jose State to open his coaching career (replacing Mike Tuiasosopo), named Tim Kish solo defensive coordinator (dropping co- duties with Greg Brown), and promoted graduate assistant Ryan Walters to secondary coach (replacing Brown). Littrell switched from coaching RBs to mentoring tight ends, inside receivers coach Garret Chachere switched to coaching running backs, and outside receivers coach Dave Nichol took over all receivers. Former Wildcat QB Kris Heavner (2003-07) was named offensive graduate assistant in the spring after serving as an office video G.A. (replacing Matt Rice). Former Wildcats reserve offensive lineman Chris Hannon (2007-09) was named defensive graduate assistant in August (replacing Walters).
Bring It On
Prognosticators have taken a glance at Arizona's 2011 schedule - particularly the first month - and most have given the Wildcats little chance of early season success. Sure, UA is set to face three straight preseason AP Top-10 teams. That's a daunting task for any squad. But playing ranked teams in succession is not totally unusual territory for Mike Stoops'squads. In Stoops' inaugural season as head coach, the Wildcats played No. 17 Utah and No. 20 Wisconsin in consecutive weeks, before later playing No. 1 USC and No. 18 Arizona State in order to end the 2004 season. In 2005, Stoops' second UA team faced No. 12 Purdue, No. 12 California and No. 1 USC in three straight games. In 2006, the Cats wrestled away victories from No. 25 Washington State and No. 8 California in consecutive November games. In the 2007, UA closed the season with No. 2 Oregon and No. 13 Arizona State. In 2009, UA closed the regular season with a win over No. 20 USC, before facing then-No. 20 Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl three weeks later. So yes, should Oklahoma State, Stanford and Oregon remain ranked in the Top 10 this year at the time of the games, it will be the first time the Cats have played a trio of Top 10 teams consecutively under Coach Stoops. But the Cats are used to playing tough competition by now.
It Won't Be The First Time
Arizona certainly has a tough slate of games lined up on its 2011 schedule. Most will point out preseason Top 10 clubs Oklahoma State, Stanford and Oregon as the primary reason the schedule is so tough. But ask any football coach, and they will tell you every game is tough. Certainly that's true this year for the Wildcats, whose opponents had a cumulative 89-60 (.597) record in 2010. That includes five teams that played in bowls - two in BCS bowls. Only four squads this year had a losing record a season ago, while four won at least 10 games. But the Wildcats are used to playing a tough schedule. In fact, three times in Mike Stoops'seven seasons at Arizona, the Wildcats have played one of the nation's top 10 toughest schedules. In 2004, UA played the third-toughest schedule in the country with opponents owning a 69-39 (.639) overall record. Two years later, the 2006 schedule checked in as the eighth-toughest in the nation with opponents holding an overall record of 76-50 (.603). And two years in 2009, The Cats played the seventh-toughest schedule in the nation as their opponents combined for an 83-55 (.601) overall record. Check back after the bowl season to see where the 2011 schedule stacks up nationally.
One More For Four
The 2011 Wildcats are seeking to do something that has never been done before in program history: earn a fourth straight bowl bid. Arizona has played in the Las Vegas (2008), Holiday (2009) and Alamo (2010) bowls the last three seasons, which has tied the 1992-94 teams for the best three-season stretch in school history. Interestingly, Arizona and Oregon are the only two Pac-10 teams that enter the Pac-12 era with three consecutive bowl appearances. Utah from the Mountain West adds a third such team with the new configuration of the conference. The Cats and Utes will battle four other schools for the Pac-12 South Division title and a berth in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game against the North Division winner on Dec. 2.
Arizona returned one of the deepest and most experienced receiving corps in the nation. Headlined by All-American candidate Juron Criner, the Cats returned 485 career receptions for 4,889 yards to the 2011 roster. After a 34-catch, 412-yard debut, those totals have increased to 517 receptions for 5,301 yards on UA's active roster. Criner accounts for 2,054 yards and 22 touchdowns, but seniors David Douglas (86-876) and Dave Roberts (96-970) are closing in on 1,000-yard careers, too. Add in sophomores Richard Morrison and Terrence Miller, along with Texas transfer Dan Buckner, senior Gino Crump and redshirt freshman Austin Hill, and you have eight reliable targets. That list does not include redshirt freshmen Garic Wharton and Tyler Slavin, who played against NAU but did not register a reception. Plus, UA's running backs have always factored into the offense, evidenced by Keola Antolin's 56 receptions for 362 yards in his three seasons. Suffice it to say, Nick Folesor whoever else is under center will have plenty of options to throw to this season.
True Freshman Linebacking
Arizona's base defense is a 4-3, but with the proliferation of spread offenses, the Wildcats will often use a nickel package where a linebacker is removed and a fifth defensive back is inserted. Against Northern Arizona, the Wildcats started in the traditional 4-3, with true freshman Rob Hankins earning a start at the Mike position. Arizona's last true freshman starting linebacker was Spencer Larsen, in the fifth game of his first year at UA in 2002. He started the final six games and seven of the last eight alongside eventual Pro-Bowl stalwart Lance Briggs (Chicago Bears). Larsen, who took the next two years off on a Mormon mission before returning for three years in 2005-07, now toils as a combo back for the Denver Broncos. Hankins is among three newcomers vying for roles this year, joining fellow rookies Hank Hobson (freshman) and juco transfer David Lopez in helping build some depth on the middle level. Walk-on senior Bilal Muhammad returns after some play a year ago and also is competing for time. Seniors Paul Vassallo and Derek Earlsclearly are the vets in the corps and will be counted on heavily.
It's going to be difficult to keep track of which guy is which, owing to the onomastic similiarity of their names. Those are some confusing vowels. Go by No. 19 for Hobson and 44 for Hankins. Maybe they'll end up being Robo and Hobo later on if they're stars, but for now this pair is guaranteed to mess up broadcasters.
An area that Mike Stoopsand Co. would like to see improvement for the Arizona Wildcats in 2011 is in the turnover department. The Cats have failed to post a positive turnover margin the last two seasons, after netting a plus-six margin in 2008. It works two-fold. First, ball security will be a priority on offense, and in a pass-happy offense led by a senior QB, the Cats could/should be in good shape there. Secondly, the UA defense needs to force more turnovers. Last season the defense turned opposing teams over just 18 times. Opportunities for more turnovers were there, perhaps best evidenced by five or six dropped interceptions against Arizona State in the regular season finale. When the Wildcats win the turnover battle, they are pretty good. Consider that Arizona is 20-7 since 2008 when it wins or ties in the turnover column. Conversely, the Cats struggle at a 4-9 clip in games they lose the turnover battle. Keep an eye on turnovers this season.
Cats Report To Duty
For the fourth straight year, Arizona head coach Mike Stoopstook his team to Fort Huachuca, a U.S. Army post 75 miles southeast of Tucson, for four days of preseason training camp in August. Fort Huachuca was founded in 1977 and is now home to units such as the Army Intelligence Center, Army Signal Command, Information Systems Command and other test facilities associated with communications and electronic proving systems. For Arizona football, the mission is threefold, but simple: learn from the best team (U.S. Army) in the world, enjoy a cooler climate for football training, and bond as a team in preparation for the long grind of a college football season. It affords quality football practice fields for the team's physical work and barracks for housing, but moreover offers exceptional leadership-skills training opportunities and daily interaction with U.S. Army soldiers on post. The formula has worked the last three years, each of which has ended with a bowl appearance. The Wildcats are seeking for a school-record fourth bowl trip this year.
Building For The Future
In the summer of 2011, Arizona Athletics completed work on a new video board for the south end zone at Arizona Stadium and has begun plans for the North End Zone Complex. The new video board measures 113' wide by 47' high -- 6.5 times larger than the existing board and will be one of the largest in all of college sports. The North End Zone Complex will include 5,000 upgraded end-zone seats, and among them 420 premium loge-level seats. Arizona football staff offices will move from McKale Center to a four-level, 185,000-square-foot operations center that includes football-specific strength and conditioning facilities, a sports-medicine suite for student-athlete care and treatment, a team dining hall, coaches' offices, team locker rooms, small group and auditorium meeting spaces, and equipment and laundry rooms.
After a frenzied start to the season (two games in six days), the Wildcats will get a chance to recover before hosting a pair of critical Pac-12 Conference games. Arizona takes on nationally ranked foes Stanford (Sept. 17 at 7:45 p.m. MST) and Oregon (Sept. 24 at 7:15 p.m. MST) at Arizona Stadium.