ARIZONA FOOTBALL

Transfer's raw talent stands out

2010-03-11T00:00:00Z Transfer's raw talent stands outRyan Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 11, 2010 12:00 am  • 

Dan Buckner fills out a uniform like nobody on campus, even though he won't make his Arizona Wildcats debut until 2011.

The UA wide receiver is that big. And that good.

"I'm 208 pounds and about 6-4," Buckner said after Wednesday's practice at Arizona Stadium. "Everybody else says they're 6-4, but I think I'm actually taller than them."

The University of Texas transfer has the frame to be a big-time player; it's his raw talent, however, that has coaches buzzing. Buckner made a half-dozen impressive catches during the UA's first four workouts. Though he's been on campus just two months, Buckner has the distinction of being the Wildcats' biggest - and maybe most athletic - receiver.

Coach Mike Stoops said the wideout "has unlimited potential."

"Dan's a big, physical, strong, fast runner," he said. "He's going to have a year to grow mentally and a year to grow physically. He has a chance to become an unbelievable player."

Buckner showed flashes of greatness at Texas as a sophomore, catching 45 passes for 442 yards and four touchdowns.

However, the Longhorns released Buckner from his scholarship in January after he was charged with misdemeanor criminal trespassing and resisting arrest.

Buckner said Arizona's coaches offered him "a fresh start, and fresh starts feel good."

"They said, 'You have a clean slate. What you do here is what you do. Make the best of it,' " Buckner said.

Buckner could have gone to a few dozen high-profile schools, but chose the Wildcats because of its proximity to home, the weather, and the people he knew in Tucson. He grew up with UA wide receiver David Douglas.

Buckner won't be able to play until the UA's 2011 opener, but said he isn't bothered by the long layoff.

"Nobody's actually playing right now," he said. "I'm trying to get better individually and help the team get better. Whether it's speed (or) getting in and out of cuts, you can always get better."

New throwing motion for QB Scott

Nick Foles isn't the only UA quarterback receiving a lesson in fundamentals this spring.

Backup Matt Scott has changed his throwing motion.

Formerly a sidearm slinger, Scott is now throwing more over the top. He has also eliminated the long, involved windup that typically preceded his throws.

"We're trying to shorten it up right now," quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo said. "It's going to take him some time to break old habits. But once he gets comfortable during the summer, it'll get even tighter in August."

Scelfo is also working on Foles' footwork with the hope the presumed starter can improve his balance this fall.

Scelfo said Foles is continuing to improve; Scott's tweaks may take longer.

"It took him 20 years to get to this point. It's a work in progress," Scelfo said. "There's a lot of muscle memory that goes into making a throw."

Extra points

• Robert Golden moved to cornerback Wednesday in place of Marcus Benjamin, who is out with a leg injury.

Could it be a sign of things to come?

"We're looking at it," Stoops said. "We don't know if it's going to be a long-term deal or not."

Golden starred at cornerback at Fresno (Calif.) Edison High School before being moved to safety at the UA. He started all 13 games at strong safety a year ago.

• Stoops said tailback Nicolas Grigsby is "coming on" after suffering a hamstring injury in Saturday's workout, and could be back at practice when the team returns from spring break. The Wildcats won't practice again until March 22.

"We cut it up," Stoops said. "It just gets too long if we do it all after spring break."

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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