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Wednesday October 4, 2000

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Haroon named Pac-10 Player of the Week

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By Maxx Wolfson

Arizona Daily Wildcat

With the end of the Olympics comes the end of the acrobatics for the Wildcat football team.

After senior defensive end Joe Tafoya sacked Stanford quarterback Chris Lewis early in the fourth quarter and forced a fumble, senior defensive end Idris Haroon recovered the fumble and ran 32 yards for a touchdown.

On his way into the endzone, Haroon somersaulted as he crossed the goal line, causing the Wildcats to draw both an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and a sideline warning.

"I already got in trouble," Haroon said. " The flip has been banned."

Despite getting in trouble for his on-field antics, Haroon was named Pacific 10 Conference Defensive Player of the Week for his outstanding play against Stanford.

Haroon is the second Wildcat defensive player to receive the honor this season - Tafoya received the honor the first week of the season for his play against Utah.

Against Stanford, the 6-foot-2 senior from Houston logged a quarterback sack and had three tackles to go with his touchdown run.

According to Haroon , though, the credit goes to the defensive coaching staff.

"I think we are playing great defense," Haroon said. "(Defensive coordinator) Rich Ellerson is doing a great job with the play calling, and he is really studying teams well and making the right calls on the right downs, and we are just executing."


Even with the loss of junior left guard Steven Grace - who had season-ending surgery on his injured left shoulder yesterday - the Wildcat offensive line is seemingly in good shape after containing Stanford's defense last weekend.

The game against the Cardinal was the first time this season the UA offensive line did not give up a sack.

UA head coach Dick Tomey was impressed with the way his offensive line responded against the high-profile Cardinal defensive line Saturday.

"It's the best job I have ever seen," Tomey said. "It only rivals the job the guys did in '91 against USC when we started all those freshmen."

Junior right guard Kevin Barry is the only Wildcat to start at the same position in the first four games of the season.

True freshman center Reggie Sampay started at center for injured senior Bruce Wiggins, and true freshman Darren Safranek started at left tackle for injured senior Makoa Freitas.

"We really won't know until the weekend (the status of Wiggins and Freitas) and we must assume going in (to Saturday's game versus USC) it will be the same as last week," Tomey said. "It may be that we can get a little time out of Makoa or Bruce, but we don't know that, and we won't know until the weekend."

Wiggins, a 6-foot-3, 280-pound senior from Houston, was named to the second-team All Pac-10 Conference squad last season.


Senior wide receiver Brad Brennan made his return to the football field last Saturday a dramatic one.

On one of his first plays in over a year, Brennan beat a Stanford defender on a post-corner route and scored a 36-yard touchdown from senior quarterback Ortege Jenkins.

Brennan, who had missed all but one snap this season due to hamstring and back injuries, logged 11 plays on Saturday.

"We are going to try to get more plays out of him this week," Tomey said. "Maybe 20, 25 plays because he is just getting in shape and trying to be able to play more plays and play him at full speed."


Recruiting in the state of Texas has paid off so far for the Wildcats this season - especially in the Houston area.

Freshman running back Clarence Farmer of Houston's Booker T. Washington High School became the first true freshman to run for more than 100 yards since Vance Johnson rushed for 183 yards against Fresno State in 1981.

"Clarence Farmer's emergence, obviously, showed power and showed strength and broke tackles against Stanford," USC head coach Paul Hackett said.

Haroon, of Houston's Hastings High School, played a critical role against Stanford along with Sampay, who attended Houston's North Shore High School.

Sampay played and started in his first game at center for injured Houston-native Wiggins.

Also from North Shore High School is freshman cornerback Michael Jolivette, who intercepted his second pass of the season against Stanford and helped keep Stanford's star senior wide receiver DeRonnie Pitts out of the end-zone.

The Wildcats have a total of 14 players from the state of Texas.


Despite holding Utah, San Diego State and Stanford to only three points each, Tomey thinks it is still too early to get excited about the Wildcat defense.

"I think if we can play close to the same kind of defense we have been playing against USC and come away with a victory, then we would have really accomplished something," he said. "USC will give us something we have not had to deal with yet."

The UA defense is tied at No. 4 in the nation in scoring defense (nine points per game) and has allowed only three touchdowns in the first four games of the season.

After more than a decade of using a double-eagle flex defense, opponents are still having trouble finding a way to solve the unorthodox scheme that Arizona presents.

"We will try to do things to confuse people," Tomey said. "I just think our defensive staff does a great job, and I think they have for a long, long time."