Cats on Tra"/> 20070402 2007 Football Outlook - Part 1 - The University of Arizona Official Athletic Site

 
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20070402 2007 Football Outlook - Part 1
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 04/02/2007
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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><EM><FONT face=Arial></FONT></EM> </P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><FONT face=Arial>Cats on Track for Better Things</FONT></I></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><FONT face=Arial></FONT></I> </P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><FONT face=Arial size=2>See it in person with <A class=ARTICLELINK href="/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=275787">Season Tickets</A>...</FONT></I></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p><FONT face=Arial> </FONT></o:p></SPAN></P><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><FONT face=Arial> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">Nineteen returning starters among 44 lettermen underscore a key feature of 2007 Arizona Football: the squad has some top-tier experience, with plenty of players well schooled in the Mike Stoops system from its first iteration to this fourth 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"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><FONT face=Arial>Player development and a tough, disciplined style of play are the hallmarks of his system. Stoops recruited able and talented players and then put them to work. His 2007 team will feature upper-class leaders who&rsquo;ve been through his mill. <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>It&rsquo;s been a fruitful but not an overnight transformation. Stoops told reporters in spring that he reached an understanding with himself: &ldquo;I found out I&rsquo;m not a miracle worker. Everyone thinks they are, but football is an ultimate team game. We&rsquo;ve had some things that were flawed, and just not good enough. But we&rsquo;re on the cusp,&rdquo; was the short version. Putting <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Arizona</st1:place></st1:State> football back in contention has taken time.<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 went out and got some new help this past year, bringing in four coaches to change the complexion of a team that has been without a consistent offensive identity in his tenure. Throwing the ball a bunch out of the multiple spread should bring a new focus to UA ? notably getting more yards, first downs and points. <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>Adding those simple objectives to a defense that returns 10 starters puts <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Arizona</st1:place></st1:State> in solid position for another step forward. Last year&rsquo;s team was bowl eligible at 6-6 and beat No. 8 California, No. 25 Washington State and a BYU team that went on to finish 11-2 and ranked. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>This year&rsquo;s club should be bowl-bound and beat some ranked teams (Stoops&rsquo; teams have done so every 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"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><FONT face=Arial>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know how much more exciting it could be than to return that many defensive starters on a team that showed it could compete,&rdquo; Stoops says. &ldquo;The guys will be able to play freer and more violently across the board.&rdquo;<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>Another good thing therein is that UA&rsquo;s new offense gets to work through spring ball against a pretty good defense. That will help, and also will help the defense later when UA opens the year against a team with a version of the spread, BYU.<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>Notable on the defensive side are senior All-American candidates on each unit ? cornerback Antoine Cason in the secondary, linebacker Spencer Larsen and defensive end Louis Holmes. <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><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt">The club returns a handful of players </SPAN><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt">who have</SPAN><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"> paid new dues to reach fifth-year status and hand the baton to an all-Stoops future at 2007&rsquo;s close. They&rsquo;re starters in cornerback Wilrey Fontenot, receiver Anthony Johnson, offensive tackle Peter Graniello, defensive tackle Lionel Dotson and linebacker Dane Krogstad, plus three-year lettermen in defensive end Jason Parker and quarterback Kris Heavner.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>That&rsquo;s it. The rest are all about Mike. <o:p></o:p></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"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><FONT face=Arial>This year, exactly what that means should be evident in a big way. UA was bowl eligible in 2006. This year it expects to be bowl bound. Transformation is the word Stoops has used. <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>One thing <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Arizona</st1:place></st1:State> needs to do is figure a way to get some points in the fourth period. In its six losses a year ago the Wildcats scored a combined nine points ? three field goals ? in the fourth period. That created a boatload of pressure on a good defense. <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><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt">Overview Notes...</SPAN></I></B><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"> UA will use the multiple-spread offense and 3-4 defense... <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Arizona</st1:place></st1:State> improved by three victories last year, tied for the 23<SUP>rd</SUP> best improvement in Division I-A... One thing a new offense should do is help keep the fans interested. They already have been. Stoops helped UA draw its second-best season average of 55,798 last year. Capacity is around 57,400 depending on annual configuration of the Zona Zoo student section ? which has been jammed with 10,000 red-clad students each of the past two years... Even a little bit of new scoring punch could help <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Arizona</st1:place></st1:State> dramatically. The Cats were 105<SUP>th</SUP> in I-A in scoring at 16.6 points per game, while holding opponents to 19.6. Just finding another touchdown per game would give UA a +4 margin per contest if that kind of defense can hold up (and there&rsquo;s no reason it shouldn&rsquo;t improve)...</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><STRONG><FONT size=4><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><FONT size=4>Next: Quarterbacks</FONT></SPAN><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 8pt"> </SPAN></FONT></STRONG></FONT></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face=Arial size=4><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 8pt"><STRONG></STRONG></SPAN></FONT> </P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face=Arial size=6><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 8pt">(Or visit the 'Outlook' button on the football-page menu bar at any time to see the latest installment)</SPAN></FONT></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face=Arial><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 8pt"><o:p></o:p></SPAN></FONT> </P>
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