ARIZONA FOOTBALL

Cats to open spring drills with several key concerns

2010-03-05T00:00:00Z Cats to open spring drills with several key concernsRyan Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 05, 2010 12:00 am  • 

Mike Stoops spent the last 2 1/2 months shuffling his coaching staff, securing a recruiting class and putting together a depth chart for the 2010 season. Today, the Arizona Wildcats coach gets back to football.

The UA will hold the first of 15 spring drills this afternoon with a two-hour workout at Arizona Stadium. The Wildcats will take a 10-day break from March 13-22, then resume with three weeks of workouts.

The Wildcats will hold their annual spring game April 10. Arizona has more issues than its back-to-back 8-5 seasons would let on. Here are the four most pressing questions: Who calls the plays? Stoops took the road less traveled during the off-season, hiring one coach and promoting three others to co-coordinator positions on both sides of the ball. But he has yet to announce who will call plays.

Newcomer Greg Brown and former linebackers coach Tim Kish have roughly the same amount of experience on defense, though they could end up answering directly to the defensive-minded head coach.

The real intrigue comes on offense: Bill Bedenbaugh and Seth Littrell will share co-offensive coordinator duties, though they have less play-calling experience - combined - than new quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo. Stoops could opt to increase Scelfo's role if neither Bedenbaugh nor Littrell proves to be a natural fit as a play-caller.

Can Nick Foles hold on to the starting quarterback job? Foles rose from backup to superstar - and then fell back to earth - during a bumpy 2009 season. He enters spring drills as the Wildcats' starter, though nothing is set in stone.

Coaches could opt to increase the role of backup Matt Scott - or give him the job outright - with a strong spring. The Wildcats backup quarterback surprised many when he decided to return to school this spring, rather than transfer.

He'll push Foles for the starter's job. Scott told the Star in January that he "wouldn't be here if I wasn't trying to get that spot back. My first goal is to get it back."

Who starts at linebacker? The Wildcats will open spring drills with newcomers at all three linebacker spots. Junior college transfer Derek Earls is listed first at the "Mike," or middle, linebacker spot.

Ironwood Ridge High School graduate Jake Fischer is scheduled to start at the strong-side spot, with Paul Vassallo - another junior college transfer - playing on the weak side.

Only one linebacker on the Wildcats' "two-deep" roster - R.J. Young - has played in a UA game before. Can Adam Grant get a sixth year of eligibility?

The dean of the UA's offensive linemen has applied to the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility. The reward, should it be granted, is substantial.

Grant is penciled in to start the 2010 season at left tackle, the line's glory position. He will participate in spring drills until the NCAA answers his request. Grant has been solid when healthy. He started all 13 games in 2009.

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