Beirne waits for his chance
Third-string quarterback Bryson Beirne prepares the same way every week.
The prospect of playing against The Citadel tonight hasn't crossed his mind - much.
"It's tempting, but it's something we can't do," he said. "We have to play these guys like we play everybody else."
The Wildcats' second-, third- and fourth-stringers could all see playing time if tonight's game against the Division I-AA Bulldogs turns into a blowout.
Few players deserve a break more than Beirne. The Honolulu native has endured his share of disappointment since coming to the UA in 2007. He redshirted as a true freshman, then watched as Matt Scott - a heralded recruit - jumped him on the depth chart. Nick Foles' decision to transfer to the UA from Michigan State knocked the likable Beirne to third string; he played in parts of five games a year ago, mostly in mop-up situations.
Tonight could mark Beirne's final chance to play for a while. The Wildcats will host Iowa, Cal and Oregon State before traveling to Washington State on Oct. 16.
Beirne said he'll be ready - as always - to play tonight. If he gets in, he plans to make the most of it.
"Success, to me, is doing my job," he said. "Every quarterback's job is to make sure everybody's lined up, executing the plays that are called, and make sure we get put in situations to win the game."
Author Conroy has not always been in good favor at his alma mater
The Citadel's mascot is officially a bulldog - the pair of live pups, General and Boo IX, who patrol the sidelines at home football games.
But we prefer to call them "The Lords of Discipline."
Credit former cadet Pat Conroy.
The author of "The Prince of Tides" and "The Great Santini" made headlines when he wrote "The Lords of Discipline" in 1980. The book - Conroy's website calls it "a novel about coming of age, brotherhood, betrayal, and a man's forging of his own personal code of honor" - takes place at the fictional Carolina Military Institute in Charleston, S.C.
It might as well have been The Citadel.
Conroy, a Citadel graduate, detailed many of the things he saw while at the school in his work of fiction.
The book offended many at the school; feelings weren't ironed out until 2000, when Conroy was awarded an honorary degree from the school.
Two years later, Conroy wrote "My Losing Season" - his memoir about playing on the Bulldogs basketball team as a senior.
Stoops likes newest idea to interact with UA fans
Before the Arizona Wildcats talk the talk, they'll walk the walk.
The first-ever "Wildcat Walk" will be held at 5 p.m. today, two hours before kickoff. The "Pride of Arizona" marching band will lead the UA's players and coaches, cheerleaders and mascots from the corner of University Boulevard and Cherry Avenue into Arizona Stadium.
Fans are encouraged to line the route.
The "Wildcat Walk" is the brainchild of first-year athletic director Greg Byrne, who has made numerous tweaks to the Wildcats' game-day experience.
Coach Mike Stoops said he's excited for his first walk.
"I've never done that. It's new to me. But it's gone over well at other places," he said. "It's just another way to try to interact with our fans.
"That's great with me."
Arizona freshman runs triple-option in practice
Arizona's Jourdan Grandon spent this week doing his best Matt Thompson impression.
Grandon, a freshman defensive back, quarterbacked a scout team that ran The Citadel's triple-option offense in practice. He even wore a No. 5 jersey to look just like Thompson, the Bulldogs' quarterback.
"It kinda feels like high school again," Grandon said.
Grandon was a two-way star at Avondale Westview High School. He ran the Wing-T offense as a junior, throwing for 1,526 yards and 11 scores while running for 759 yards. The Wildcats recruited him as a defensive back, a position he played until coaches asked him to play on the scout team this week.
Running the option offense, even in practice, is no fun. Starting quarterback Nick Foles recalled with a laugh that his high school team ran a few option plays. Foles typically pitched the ball before he could be hit, he said.
"It wasn't my forte," Foles said.
Grandon, who will redshirt this season, said it was "fun to go out there and do something different." He even connected on a big play in practice. Playing against the Wildcats' second-string defense, Grandon found wide receiver Dan Buckner for a deep touchdown pass.
"It makes me feel like I'm helping the team, giving them a good look and getting them ready for Saturday," he said.
The Citadel not afraid to play against the big boys
The Citadel has never played Arizona - or any Pac-10 Conference school, for that matter - but the Bulldogs are hardly small-time.
The Citadel has played at least one major college program every year since 1982, when it dropped down from Div. I to Div. I-AA.
Bulldogs coach Kevin Higgins calls them "mirror games."
"What we say is, 'This game becomes a measuring stick for you personally. You have a chance to measure yourself against the top players in the country,'" Higgins said. "It's a mirror game, in that you have a chance to answer that question. Our guys are excited to play a team from the Pac-10 like Arizona."
RESISTANCE IS FUTILE
Here's a look at The Citadel's Div. I opponents over the last decade, and how they have fared:
2000 Clemson 38, The Citadel 0
2001 Georgia Tech 35, The Citadel 7
2002 LSU 35, The Citadel 10
2002 Wyoming 34, The Citadel 30
2003 Maryland 61, The Citadel 0
2004 Auburn 33, The Citadel 3
2004 Duke 28, The Citadel 10
2005 Florida State 62, The Citadel 10
2005 Mississippi 27, The Citadel 7
2006 Texas A&M 35, The Citadel 3
2006 Pitt 51, The Citadel 6
2007 Wisconsin 45, The Citadel 31
2008 Clemson 45, The Citadel 17
2008 Florida 70, The Citadel 19
2009 North Carolina 40, The Citadel 6
Total record: 0-15
ABOUT THE CITADEL
• Location: Charleston, S.C.
• Enrollment: 3,300
• Famous alumni: Former ESPN analyst Paul Maguire, former Cardinals running back "Stump" Mitchell and best-selling author Pat Conroy
TIME TO SHINE
Here are four down-the-depth chart players who could see time if tonight's game turns into a rout:
• QB Bryson Beirne: The Honolulu native is a favorite of his coaches and teammates but has played in just nine games in two-plus seasons.
• OT Eric Bender-Ramsay: The 6-foot-6-inch, 325-pound redshirt freshman just missed making the "two-deep" out of training camp.
• RB Kylan Butler: Former Concord (Calif.) De La Salle High School rusher has looked good in spurts.
• S Mark Watley: Arrival of Adam Hall and Marquis Flowers bumped Watley from the Wildcats' immediate plans.