The Arizona Wildcats could open the 2011 season with a new placekicker.

Junior college transfer Jaime Salazar has overtaken incumbent Alex Zendejas with 10 days left before the UA's Sept. 3 opener against Northern Arizona. Coach Mike Stoops made the announcement after tonight's practice on campus.

"Jaime's moved ahead of Alex right now," Stoops said. "We'll continue to compete as we go through it."

Stoops said he's looking for reliability from his starting placekicker, something that's been missing in camp. Salazar connected of just 2 of 4 attempts in Saturday's meet-the-team scrimmage at Arizona Stadium; Zendejas, hit a 38-yard field goal but missed a 50-yarder.

The nephew of former UA star Max Zendejas, Alex led the Wildcats in scoring a year ago.

However, his season was marred by inconsistency: Zendejas missed two PATs in last year's regular season finale against Arizona State, including one that would have vaulted the UA to a dramatic win at the end of regulation.

"You have to have a reliable kicker," Stoops said. "You have to have three points when you get down there on a consistent basis."



The sports editor of the Arizona Daily Star.