By Arlie Rahn
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Now that Arizona has overcome the Sports Illustrated cover jinx that hovered over them last year, the Wildcats have returned to the underdog role that they thrived in during the last couple of seasons. The following is an introduction of this year's team by position.
˜ Quarterback: Dan White (6-feet-5-inches, 213 pounds, Sr.)
White, a two-year starter, is coming off a season that launched him into the Pacific 10 Conference elite. He has a quality arm and has shown himself to be an experienced leader. He completed 169 of 296 passes for 2,181 yards and 14 touchdowns last season, and his 57.1 percent completion rate set a school record for a player with more than 200 attempts.
Sophomore Brady Batton, who has a more mobile style, should see limited time as backup this season.
˜ Tailback: Gary Taylor (5-11, 194 , Jr.)
Taylor is looking to establish himself as a quality back after playing in the shadow of 1,000-yard rusher Ontiwaun Cater for two years. In 72 attempts last season, Taylor ran for 300 yards (4.3 yards per attempt) and two touchdowns.
Kevin Schmidtke (5-9, 198, So.) is expected to split time with Taylor. Schmidtke was thrown into the big time last season as he provided the eventual game-winning touchdown in the opener against Georgia Tech. In '94, he rushed for 191 yards in limited use.
Robbie Glanton (5-10, 196, So.) will be used sparingly, filling in for Taylor and Schmidtke. Glanton, a transfer from Northwestern, spent last season as a redshirt on the scout team.
˜ Fullback: Charles Myles (5-11, 233 , So.)
Myles came in last season as a freshman and provided another quality back. He rushed 27 times for 102 yards and one touchdown. With senior fullback Jason Patterson redshirting this season due to a fracture in his left hand, Myles will be a major force in the Wildcat ground game.
Daren Hooper (6-1, 205, Fr.) will be Myles' backup.
˜ Wide Receivers: Richard Dice (6-2, 216, Jr.) and Cary Taylor (5-11, 191, Sr.)
Dice is one of the Pac-10's best-kept secrets. After catching 56 passes for 969 yards and a conference-high eight touchdowns last season, Dice rates among the best in the conference.
Taylor, who had 12 receptions for 129 yards in 1994, has established himself as a deep threat and could provide White with another big-play receiver. Junior college transfer Rodney Williams, redshirt freshman Ron Holmes and senior Jeff Chiasson make this group one of the most talented corps ever at Arizona.
˜ Tight End: Mike Metzler (6-4, 215, Jr.) and Mike Lucky (6-6, 251, Fr.)
This position is rapidly losing applicants. After serious injuries to seniors Damon Terrell and Tim Thomas, Metzler has risen to No. 1. He has the most experience at the position of the remaining players and should have no trouble stepping in. Converted defensive end Jimmy Sprotte (6-2, 235, So.) should also see occasional action.
˜ Offensive Line: Left tackle Ÿ Ian McCutcheon (6-4, 282, Jr.); Left guard Ÿ Frank Middleton (6-5, 350, Jr.); Center Ÿ Mani Ott (6-2, 268, Sr.); Right guard Ÿ Bryan Hand (6-3, 275, Sr.); Right tackle Ÿ Willie Walker (6-2, 285, Jr.)
This year's line has no returning starters, but that is not to say they are not experienced. Ott, who has filled in at line the last couple of years, along with a number of junior college transfers make this unit one that has been in game situations at the collegiate level before.
Ryan Turley (6-7, 300, Jr.) and Tevete Usu (6-3, 300, Jr.) will rotate in frequently until a final lineup is decided upon. Mike Mannelly (6-2, 275, So.), Wayne Wyatt (6-3, 296, Jr.) and David Walker (6-5, 297 pounds, Jr.) should also see time.
˜ Defensive Line: Defensive ends Ÿ Tedy Bruschi (6-1, 243, Sr.); Jimmy Sprotte (6-2, 235, So.); Nose guard Ÿ Chuck Osborne (6-1, 279, Sr.); Defensive tackle Ÿ Joe Salave'a (6-4, 276, Jr.)
Without a doubt, this is the heart of the defense. This unit was responsible for holding teams to just 65 yards a game (2nd in the nation). Bruschi, a consensus All-American and Lombardi Award finialist, is the leader of the group and has 33 sacks in his last 24 games.
But the big surprise last season was the play of Osborne. He led the team with 11 sacks and consistently clogged up the middle. Salave'a was also a force in the middle after working himself into the starting lineup.
Chato Jackson (6-0, 235, Jr.), Daniel Greer (6-2, 250, Fr.), Cai McCray (6-3, 245, Jr.) and Van Tuinei (6-4, 260, Jr.) will give relief to the front four.
˜ Linebackers: OLB Ÿ Thomas Demps (6-3, 234, Sr.); ILB Ÿ Charlie Camp (5-11, 230, Sr.); Mike Szlauko (6-3, 230, So.)
Returning starters Demps and Camp will solidify this unit and help with the run. Demps only played three games last season due to injuries and should be a great asset now that he is healthy. Camp had 50 tackles last season and should ease the loss of All-American Sean Harris.
Chester Burnett (5-10, 219, So.) has been impressive at camp and should split time with Szlauko. Scott Sanders (6-feet-1-inch, 218 pounds, Jr.) and Armon Williams (6-feet-1-inch, 200 pounds, So.) will backup Demps and Camp.
˜ Cornerbacks: Kelly Malveaux (5-9, 176, So.); Rashee Johnson (6-0, 180, Jr.)
Malveaux is the lone returning starter and should be a major factor in improving the Wildcat's 72nd-ranked pass efficiency defense. Johnson, a junior-college transfer, has shown the talent and Derrick Stewart's (5-9, 192, Jr.) recent suspension due to an indictment opened the door for him. Skeeter Harrington (5-10, 150, So.) will give Malveaux an occasional breather.
˜ Safeties: Brandon Sanders (5-10, 179, Sr.) and Shawn Parnell (5-8, 155, Sr.)
Sanders, an All-Pac-10 first-team selection, will anchor an improved secondary unit focused on increasing its interception total from only four last season. Rafell Jones (5-10, 180, Fr.), Mikal Smith (5-10, 175, Fr.) and Chuck Rich (5-10, 190, So.) will provide depth at this spot.
˜ Kicker: Jon Prasuhn (5-11, 174, Sr.)
After spending the summer working with NFL kickers, such as Minnesota's Fuad Reveiz, Prasuhn has shown the ability to pick up right where last season's All-American kicker, Steve McLaughlin, left off. High school All-American Mark McDonald is available for insurance.
˜ Punter: Matt Peyton (6-1, 184, Jr.)
Peyton's punting average improved to 38 yards a kick and there is no reason to believe that he will not improve again this season.
Among the projected return specialists are the Taylor twins, Cary and Gary, and Dice. Rodney Williams could see some action at punt returning with Schmidtke and Ron Holmes doing occasional work on kick returning.
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