By Eric Wein
Arizona Daily Wildcat
For just about every day since Aug. 11, the Arizona football team has buckled their shoulder pads, strapped on their helmets and hit the field to ... practice.
Practice meaning countless hours of drills and wind sprints with little time to line up and run through plays like they will Thursday night against Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
“They’re tired of hitting guys they room with,” UA coach Dick Tomey said on his team’s desire to begin the season. “They can’t wait to hit guys they’ve never seen before.”
Ontiwaun Carter recently returned to practice after missing most of Camp Cochise. He is expected to suit up on Thursday and Tomey said the missed practice time shouldn’t be too detrimental.
“We may have a few guys a little rusty because they haven’t practiced all the time, but I doubt it,” Tomey said. “I think most of them will play.”
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Perhaps the fiercest battle for a starting position throughout the preseason has taken place at one of the cornerback spots. Spencer Wray and Mike Scurlock have vied for a cornerback position on the opposite side of the field as Claudius Wright.
Tomey said on Friday that Wray will likely start at the position and get some plays in but he could be replaced by Scurlock.
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Tomey said a first game is just a measuring stick for where they are at the beginning of the season. There are still areas that need to be tested in a game situation for anybody to know where they’re at.
“If it was a perfect world, the first game would be your worst game and you’d improve every week after that. But it’s not a perfect world,” Tomey said. “The week after, we’ll have a grocery list of things we don’t like and things we like.”
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Hype cont.: The final word on preseason picks, polls and whatnot is this month’s Playboy.
Playboy, not usually a source for its sports knowledge, is actually well-respected in its All-America team and rankings.
Arizona is ranked 9th in their preseason Top 20 with an expected record of 9-2. The magazine chose Nebraska to finish first with a 12-0 finish.
In their list of Playboy preseason All-Americans, the only Wildcat mentioned is linebacker Sean Harris. The Arizona omissions are puzzling. One selection, Florida State defensive back Clifton Abraham was listed for having 90 career tackles. UA safety Tony Bouie has 132 career tackles. North Carolina defensive lineman Marcus Jones is praised as a second team All-ACC. Tedy Bruschi was a first-team All Pac-10 selection last year.
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ESPN can breathe a sigh of relief on Thursday night when they televise the Arizona-Georgia Tech game at 5 p.m. Tucson time.
Since the Major League Baseball players’ strike began, the cable network has had to show Class AA games featuring Michael Jordan and other insignificant minor league matchups rather than the big name action they had earlier in the year.
The game on Thursday could likely be a big ratings boost since it could draw audiences from separate regions.
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