UA benefits from last bye before Territorial Cup
A 13-day break between games should prove beneficial for the Arizona football team as it readies for the annual Territorial Cup game against ASU, head coach Mike Stoops said yesterday.
"We should be close to 100 percent healthy," he said. "The health of our team is as good as it's been all year, and we're a lot more excited to get into game week."
The Wildcats' recent bye week gave players a chance to heal from numerous injuries, including freshmen phenoms Willie Tuitama and Mike Thomas.
Both suffered injuries during a 38-14 loss to Washington Nov. 12 - Thomas a broken hand, Tuitama a sore hand and high ankle sprain.
Thomas, Arizona's leading receiver with 52 catches for 771 yards and five touchdowns, will wear a stabilizing cast on the hand, which he had surgery on last week.
The cast is similar to one Indianapolis Colts Pro Bowl wideout Marvin Harrison has worn this season, Stoops said.
Also returning Friday are offensive linemen Peter Graniello and Kili Lefotu and possibly sophomore linebacker Dane Krogstad.
"Our kids bounced back last week," Stoops said. "We gave them some time off last week to get caught up on some academic issues. We'll start to gain some energy today and throughout the week."
Pacific 10 Conference teams will play 12 games in 2006 rather than the 11 of seasons past, making this the last year Arizona will have an extra week to regroup before meeting the Sun Devils.
According to ASU head coach Dirk Koetter, that's not such a bad thing.
"It's tough sitting at home, watching every other team play its rivalry game," he said in a phone interview yesterday. "It makes you more nervous for playing yours a week later."
Baugher undergoes surgery
Senior punter Danny Baugher, the nation's leader in average yards per punt before suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his kicking leg Oct. 22 against Oregon, underwent surgery in San Diego last week to repair the knee.
Baugher is a player Stoops has said will have a bright future in the professional ranks.
Arizona lands big recruits over bye week
The bye week was a productive one for Arizona, who over the week signed four recruits for the 2006 freshmen class.
A pair of Tucson products rounded out the week's signings Friday: Sabino High School standout running backs Brooks Reed and Glyndon Bolasky, according to scouting Web site scout.com.
Highly touted Tyler Lyon, a 6-foot-5 quarterback from Hart High School in Newhall, Calif., committed to Arizona on Nov. 15, and two days later, running back Derke Robinson of Lewisville, Texas, joined Stoops' ranks.
Robinson is considered the best of the bunch as a four-star recruit on a five-star scale, while the remaining three all rate three stars.
The Arizona coaching staff was not allowed to comment about specific recruits under NCAA rules.
"We've been able to do a decent job in the two years we've been here," Stoops said. "We recruit well in the state of Arizona, and we'll continue to recruit well."