Bug Wright grew up a cowboy, riding horses and taking part in team-roping competitions near his Tatums, Okla., home.
Had things gone his way, Wright would have been a capital-C Cowboy, too, playing for Oklahoma State's football team.
"That was the school I wanted to go to," Wright said. "That didn't work out, but I'm glad to play against them. They'll see what they missed out on."
Wright will travel with the UA to its Dec. 29 Alamo Bowl game against No. 16 Oklahoma State, though his role remains largely undefined.
Coaches suspended Wright, a junior wide receiver, for the final two games of the regular season for an unspecified violation of team rules. He returned to practice before the UA's Territorial Cup game against Arizona State, but did not play.
Wright would not comment on the reasons for his suspension, but said he was thrilled to be back on the team - even if his role appears to have changed.
Receivers Terrence Miller and David Roberts leapfrogged Wright on the depth chart during his absence. Wright could contribute as a punt returner in the bowl game, provided coaches trust him enough to put him on the field.
"I don't have my starting job back yet. We're still working on that," Wright said with a smile. "I'm back on the field now. That's all you can ask for."
Nobody's taking the Alamo Bowl more personally than Wright, a graduate of tiny Pauls Valley High School. About 20 of Wright's friends and family will travel to San Antonio for the bowl game, though the receiver says that number might grow if he can land more tickets.
Playing, and contributing, would make his day.
"I think playing in the Alamo Bowl means a lot to him, no matter who it is," inside receivers coach Garret Chachere said. "And I think any time he can play Oklahoma State, it means a lot to him - no matter where it is.
"The combination of playing in a first-rate bowl like that … and playing a school from the state he's from, it has to mean something to him. It should mean something to him."
Buckner = Blackmon
Dan Buckner has been sporting a new jersey number - 81 - in practices the last two weeks, and for good reason. The University of Texas transfer has been mimicking OSU receiver Justin Blackmon on the scout-team offense, giving the Wildcat defense a good idea of what to expect in the Alamo Bowl.
Blackmon is unquestionably the nation's top collegiate wide receiver; in 12 regular-season games, the sophomore from Ardmore, Okla., caught 102 passes for 1,665 yards and 18 touchdowns.
"He's the real deal - he goes up and gets the ball, he has good balance after the catch and he has great yards after the catch," Buckner said. "He takes a lot of the balls to the house. He does a good job of making something out of nothing."
Buckner isn't reading much into the scout-team duty, or the number. He'll return to No. 15 next season.
"Awww, I'm just giving them a look for scout team," he said. "I'm forever Dan."
• Lawton (Okla.) linebacker Jabral Johnson decommitted from the UA over the weekend, and is expected to sign with Oregon State. The Rivals.com recruiting service lists Johnson as a three-star recruit and the 22nd-best player in the state. Arizona has six weeks to finalize its 2011 recruiting class.
• Quarterback Nick Foles and running back Nicolas Grigsby both declared themselves 100 percent heading into the bowl game. Foles dislocated his right kneecap earlier this season against Washington State, while Grigsby is two weeks removed from his third major ankle injury of the year.
Both practiced at full speed for the last two weeks.
• What: Arizona (7-5) vs. Oklahoma State (10-2)
• Where: San Antonio
• When: 7:15 p.m. Dec. 29
• TV; radio: ESPN; 1290-AM, 1490-AM, 107.5-FM