Arizona football: Tevis recovers for starting job against UCLA

Despite missing two starts with a sprained ankle, UA safety Jared Tevis (38) ranks fifth on the team in tackles.


As he began preparations for Saturday's game against No. 18 Stanford, Arizona Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez watched game film - but not enough, he said, to get depressed.

The size differential alone is enough to warrant a Prozac prescription.

Stanford tight end Levine Toilolo stands 6 feet 8 inches and weighs 265 pounds; fellow tight end Zach Ertz is shorter (6-6) and lighter (252 pounds), but is a better pass-catcher. He caught six balls for a career-high 106 yards in last week's loss to Washington.

The Cardinal's skill-position players are backed by 1,496 pounds of offensive linemen. Starters David Yankey, Cameron Fleming, Kevin Danser, Khalil Wilkes, and Sam Schwartzstein stand an average of 6-4 and weigh an average of 299.2 pounds.

Rodriguez chuckled about how UA might stop a Stanford team he calls "the biggest in college football, if not one of the biggest."

"I've told y'all how to eat an elephant: One bite at a time, right?" Rodriguez quipped. "We might be like a bunch of fire ants or something, jumping all over those guys. It may take five or six of 'em.

"The first guy to get there, you hit him as hard as you can, hold on for dear life and hope the cavalry comes to help you out."

The Wildcats need to rally.

Arizona's defensive performance in last weekend's 38-35 loss to Oregon State dropped the team to 10th in the Pac-12 in total defense. The UA is allowing 451.2 yards per game; the Cats were surrendering 487.7 per game when coach Mike Stoops was fired a year ago.

Stanford runs a pro-style offense with an emphasis on running and play-action. Like Oregon State, Stanford provides a tough matchup for a small, quick UA defense.

"They're definitely a larger team, and they play with their pads low," UA nose tackle Tevin Hood said. "The offensive front is not sloppy big - they're just big, corn-fed dudes."

The key, Hood said: "You have to play low, maintain a low center of gravity - and then hit them in the mouth."

Injured duo rehabbing

Center Kyle Quinn and "Bandit" safety Jared Tevis will rehabilitate their injuries this week with hopes of playing Saturday.

Both suffered serious ankle injuries against Oregon State. Tevis rolled his left ankle while covering an incomplete pass in the end zone during the first quarter. He came back for one drive, but was then shut down for the night.

Quinn, the unofficial captain of the Wildcats' offensive line, went down while pass-blocking in the third quarter and did not return.

Rodriguez offered few details on their conditions during Monday's news conference on campus. No decisions will be made until Thursday, when the team releases its weekly injury report.

"We have some guys that are beat up, are banged up … we'll see what happens with them throughout the course of the week, and you'll get the report on Thursday," Rodriguez said. "We're not a deep team; we're not really experienced at a lot of positions.

"Any injuries certainly hurt, like a lot of teams are going through right now. We're battling through some of that, and hoping that it'll be a good week for some guys. If it's not, and we have guys that can't go, then we'll put the next guy in and move on."

Addison Bachman and Patrick Onwuasor replaced Quinn and Tevis, respectively, and received mostly positive reviews from their coaches. Rodriguez said the newcomers "did OK; they were physical, and they got in there."

Dugandzic lauded

Punter Kyle Dugandzic was named the Pac-12 special teams player of the week for his performance in Saturday's loss. The senior from Agoura, Calif., punted five times for 234 yards.

The Pac-12 award was Dugandzic's first.

"It made me a little happy," he said, "but at the same time, I'm taking it with a grain of salt because it was a loss."

Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion and Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton were named the Pac-12's offensive and defensive players of the week.

Extra points

• Richard Morrison "is probably our No. 3 quarterback", Rodriguez said Monday. The wide receiver/kick returner played one snap at quarterback Saturday, rushing for minus-2 yards. Morrison played both quarterback and receiver in spring drills.

• Linebacker Greg Nwoko's career is likely over because of a hip injury, Rodriguez said. Nwoko, a senior who has already used one redshirt year, would need to petition the NCAA for a hardship waiver and be cleared by trainers to play again.

• Arizona will practice at 6 a.m. today, presumably to get players ready for Saturday's noon start. The Wildcats' first five games all kicked off at either 7 or 7:30 p.m.

Up next

• What: Arizona at No. 18 Stanford

• When: Noon Saturday

• TV: Ch 11

• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM