Notes and takeaways from the Arizona Wildcats’ post-practice media availability Tuesday morning as Oregon State week continues:
* Sophomore quarterback Khalil Tate was named one of 16 semifinalists for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award, given to the top QB in the country. The others on the list form a who’s-who of current college quarterbacks. Tate ranks second in the Pac-12 in rushing yards per game (155.3) and first in passing efficiency (157.7 rating).
* Receiver Shawn Poindexter will participate in senior activities Saturday night but is seeking another year of eligibility. He signed with Cal Baptist to play volleyball in 2012, left school due to financial hardship, worked odd jobs for about two years and has played football (at Glendale Community College and Arizona) the past three years.
* UA coach Rich Rodriguez described senior tailback Nick Wilson's injury-plagued career as "unlucky." Wilson is "full go" for Saturday after playing minimally vs. USC, Rodriguez said. Expect a big workload for Wilson on Senior Night.
* Running backs coach Calvin Magee said Wilson reminded him of Ka'Deem Carey coming out of high school. Injuries prevented Wilson from reaching that level
* I asked Magee why freshman Nathan Tilford hasn’t gotten any playing time lately at running back: “There’s three reasons: Nick, J.J. (Taylor) and Zach (Green). It’s easy to play three; it’s a little bit harder to play four. He’s capable. He’s ready. I’m keeping him ready. You never know what’ll happen. We know what happened last year when everybody was hurt. He’s coming to work every day. I’ve talked to him several times. Told him to just learn it. He knows it. Everything I’m saying to them, I’m saying to you too. So just pay attention. At any time, you could run out there.”
* I followed up by asking why Branden Leon played ahead of Tilford at Cal. “He deserved to go in,” Magee said. “He’s earned it. I have no issue with Branden. I could start Branden in a game and wouldn’t flinch. He’s ready. He’s capable of that. Great kid. And has worked his butt off.”
* Green is having his best year. Magee attributed it to changes Green made to his workouts and nutrition to become quicker without losing power.
* Cornerback Jace Whittaker was in a walking boot as he left the locker room. I wouldn’t read too much into that. WR Shun Brown had one after the USC game but seemed fine leaving the practice field today. Players often will wear boots for even minor ankle sprains. Whittaker was smiling and moving at a decent pace.
* Magee said Arizona is seeing a "higher percentage than normal" of cover-zero since Tate took over and took off at quarterback.
* Although Arizona is favored by 23 points over Oregon State, the players remember last year’s depressing 42-17 loss in Corvallis. If some forgot, Rodriguez reminded them. "They whipped us good,” he said. “It wasn’t like it just happened in the last second; they beat us from start to finish.”
* Rodriguez said Oregon State uses more formations, shifts and motions than “every team we’ve had combined,” so that will be a huge focal point for the struggling defense this week.
* Regardless of how they line up, Rodriguez expects the Beavers to "come downhill at us" with tailbacks Ryan Nall and Thomas Tyner. Nall rushed for 124 yards and scored twice in last year’s meeting.
* Rodriguez said senior guard Jacob Alsadek is “everything you’d want in a leader, everything you’d want in a football player, a person in your program." I’ll have more on Alsadek later today.
* Rodriguez didn't say no when asked about tackle Gerhard de Beer punting, but I don't think it's going to happen. Improvement is badly needed at that spot regardless.
* Rodriguez is high on the upside of freshman kicker Lucas Havrisik, who has a high touchback rate and has made 3 of 4 field-goal attempts. Rodriguez mentioned that Havrisik has been under the weather recently.