Tight end Wood emerging as threat in passing game
The Arizona football team opens its toughest stretch of the 2005 season Saturday at Arizona Stadium against No. 12 Purdue.
In a four-week span, Arizona (1-1) squares off with the Boilermakers (1-0) and takes to the road for Pacific 10 Conference showdowns with No. 15 California (2-0) and two-time defending national champion and top-ranked Southern California (1-0).
Arizona head coach Mike Stoops said it is important for the team to take the next three games one at a time.
The Boilermaker defense returns 10 of 11 starters from a 2004 squad that narrowly lost to ASU 27-23 in the Sun Bowl.
"They may be experienced, but I feel like if we go this week with a good attitude and we practice hard, we'll be ready for anybody," said senior offensive lineman Kili Lefotu.
On the other side of the ball, Purdue comes into Tucson off a high-scoring season debut last weekend against Akron.
The Boilermakers registered 49 points and 478 yards in a balanced offensive attack that saw four rushing touchdowns, two scores through the air and a defensive touchdown.
The Boilermakers use a spread-option offense similar to the offensive scheme Arizona saw Sept. 2 at Utah.
"It's hard to cover the option, and that's why a lot of teams are going to it," said sophomore cornerback Antoine Cason.
"But we're just going to work hard this week to stone that."
Sabino High School product and junior tight end Brad Wood caught seven passes for 48 yards and one touchdown in 2004.
What a difference a season makes: Two games into the 2005 campaign, Wood has 84 yards on seven receptions with two touchdowns.
"Brad's been sneaky," Stoops said. "He's been open a lot these first two games."
Stoops said Wood's number of end-zone trips could easily have been higher.
"He should have had another touchdown (Saturday against NAU). He was wide open, (but) he and the quarterback got on the wrong page there," he said.
Wood caught a nine-yard touchdown pass from redshirt sophomore quarterback Richard Kovalcheck in the second quarter of Saturday's 31-12 win, eight days after the duo first hooked up on a 21-yard score.
"Brad's worked hard on his game," Stoops said. "He is very knowledgeable on the field. He understands the passing game really well for a tight end."