Arizona football: Hill works to improve all skills for '13 season

Receiver Austin Hill has worked on his quickness, busting off the line, his overall speed and his routes to be better than he was in 2012.


The question posed to Austin Hill was an easy one.

"What have you been working on this offseason?" It probably should have been: "What haven't you been working on this offseason?"

"I had lots to work on," the receiver said. "Quickness, bursting off the line, getting up the field, overall speed, not giving up my routes to the defensive backs and I always try to catch the ball everyday.

"I feel like I got better this offseason."

That's certainly good news for the Arizona Wildcats.

If Hill is better than he was in 2012 - look out.

The Corona, Calif., native had 81 catches for 1,364 yards and 11 touchdowns last season as a sophomore. It was the third-most yards in a season in Arizona Wildcats history and the 6-foot-3-inch, 210-pound Hill has two more years of eligibility left.

The Star chatted with Hill about leadership, what he expects this season from defenses and how he was able to adjust to coach Rich Rodriguez's offense so quickly.

On whether he has to be more of a leader this year:

"I'm not always as comfortable being in the leadership role. I'm not as vocal as other guys like Dan (Buckner). Dan was a really vocal leader, so was Matt (Scott). I may not be vocal, but I know a lot of the younger kids are looking at me because I had a decent season last year. I just try to do everything right and lead by example and say what needs to be said. I'm trying to teach the young guys how to be successful in 'coach Rod's' offense and take coaching even if they are yelling at you."

On if he's always looked to help the younger players:

"I've done it before. This spring I have to do it a little more. There is going to be a lot of yelling going around. Everyone is going to get yelled at, even me. I think it's important to put your arm around somebody and tell them 'it's OK, just next snap, don't mess up again.'"

On if he thinks defenses will play him differently this year:

"I hope they don't. I hope they let me do what I did last year. No, they might see film on me and see what was successful and working for me. It's just something where I'll have to get better at running my routes, getting off the line, getting by defenses, getting into zones. There's only so many ways for a defense to run a zone, so if I can find the holes, I'll be OK."

On if he was surprised at how quickly he picked up Rodriguez's system:

"I've always been a quick learner even when I first got here with Nick Foles. I wasn't even practicing with the 'ones' and I knew basically all the plays. So, right when I was going to really start playing, we changed coaches. I knew it wasn't going to take as long for me to learn it. The only concern was the speed, because I had never run in an offense that quick before. Even in high school, we were real slow. I was just happy to play a role and be successful doing it."

Austin Hill file

• Hometown: Corona, Calif.

• Height/weight: 6-3/210

• Career stats: 102 catches, 1,675 yards and 13 touchdowns

• Top three games of 2012: 10 catches for 259 yards vs. USC; 11 catches for 165 yards and two touchdowns at Stanford; eight catches for 175 yards and two touchdowns vs. Nevada

Up next

• March 29: Scrimmage, 7 p.m. at Phoenix College

• April 13: Spring game, 1 p.m. at Kindall/Sancet Stadium

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk.