By Kyle Kensing
CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
B.J. Vickers pushes away cornerback Wilrey Fontenot during the second spring 2005 football scrimmage Saturday. Fontenot says that Arizona's receiving corps continues to challenge the defensive squad.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, April 14, 2005
A pair of freshmen came to Tucson last season and had immediate impacts on the Arizona football team's defense.
Now, with a season of experience and conference accolades under their belts, cornerbacks Wilrey Fontenot and Antoine Cason look ahead to the fall with great anticipation.
"We want to be Pac-10 champs and make a bowl game," Cason said.
Arizona is laying the groundwork for those goals during its spring practices, the ninth of which was yesterday afternoon at Arizona Stadium.
Cason, the Wildcats' leader in interceptions last season, said he feels the team is making strides toward the program's first winning season in more than five years.
"We're very prepared for what we're going to see. We still have to work on some things, and we'll get to that in these last two weeks of spring practice," he said. "But we've been improving a lot and I feel we'll do really well (in the fall)."
Fontenot said part of that improvement revolves around the secondary's ability to read offensive patterns.
"(We're) working on learning (receivers') routes, reading quarterbacks and being more fundamentally sound," he said.
Cason said the coaches are also pushing more aggressive coverage.
"A point of emphasis is going for the ball more, attacking the ball. Going for the strip and not just the tackle," Cason said.
Last season, Cason attacked the ball to the tune of four interceptions, while Fontenot recorded two.
Cason said that he hopes to improve individually in 2005 upon his impressive numbers, which included 70 tackles, second best on the Arizona roster.
"I've set goals to read my keys better, play more physical and aggressive, but also play smart," he said.
Fontenot said Arizona has a talented receiving corps, which has challenged him to take his play to another level.
One receiver in particular, junior college transfer B.J. Vickers, has shown the secondary different looks.
"(Vickers) has brought in a whole new mentality," he said. "He's a very aggressive receiver."
"It really helps," Cason said. "We have to come out and match their intensity. They're making us better in every aspect of our play."
The play of Vickers and his fellow wideouts in spring workouts are key to Fontenot achieving one of his individual goals in the regular season, he said.
"I want to improve on every aspect of the game and be more fundamentally sound," he said. "I don't want to get any touchdowns scored on me."