ARIZONA FOOTBALL

As Cason looks to future, Tuitama just looks for one

2010-03-14T00:00:00Z As Cason looks to future, Tuitama just looks for oneRyan Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 14, 2010 12:00 am  • 

The two greatest players of the Mike Stoops era reconvened at Arizona Stadium on Friday for one all-too-brief hour.

One stood on the sidelines, joking, smiling - as usual - while reminiscing about his road to the NFL.

The other slung footballs from sideline to sideline, trying to get the attention of a handful of scouts.

Antoine Cason and Willie Tuitama will forever be connected by their college successes.

But since then, they've gone in totally different directions.

Cason, a former Thorpe Award winner and first-round draft pick, is living the good life heading into his third year with the San Diego Chargers.

He's penciled in as a starting cornerback heading into the 2010 season, a year after being relegated to a new position - nickel back - on an underachieving team.

Tuitama, meanwhile, remains desperate for a professional chance.

Arizona's career leader in passing yards, completions and touchdowns took part in Friday's pro timing day on campus, a year after a DUI charge - and a subpar showing - scuttled his hopes for the NFL draft.

Tuitama has been working out regularly since then with the hope of latching on somewhere. His agent has been in contact with teams from the NFL, the Canadian Football League and the United Football League.

The Star talked to Cason and Tuitama on Friday about their college memories and professional situations.

Here's what they said:

Three questions with Antoine Cason

You're back in Tucson just in time for pro timing day. Any déjà vu?

"When you see things like that, it always takes you back. I remember that it was sort of a one-time deal for me. I really wasn't too nervous. I just went out there and had fun."

The Chargers traded Antonio Cromartie to the Jets last week, and it looks like you'll take his place in the starting lineup. Are you excited?

"I'm confident in what I can bring to the team. … I'm ready to go. I'll be here all off-season, and then I'll go back to San Diego."

You played nickel back last season, which is not your natural position. Are you happy to move back to corner?

"I'll definitely be a corner, which is good. I definitely love the position of corner. … Last year was a difficult year, of course. I'm looking forward to this year. I've forgotten about last year."

Three questions with Willie Tuitama

How's life after college football?

"It's different. My first semester back, it was just weird not being involved with it. But once it passed, it was OK. I've been in McKale every day, the weight room every day and study hall every day. It's not too awkward when I see the guys and the coaches. I'm taking two classes right now, and I'm in the weight room a lot. I'll graduate, probably by this summer. I'm a family studies major."

What about your pro prospects?

"I've been talking to teams and my agent's been talking to teams. … I'm hoping someone will call. If they need a backup or a practice guy, whatever it may be, I'll do it. I'm just trying to get there somehow."

Was it strange to work out again after everything you went through a year ago?

"It's about the same. I could have possibly been (in the pros) already if I didn't get into the trouble I got into last year, but that's the cards that were dealt to me personally. It was my mistake, but I'm here now and ready to get back into it. It was a long time ago, I'm trying to move forward. We'll see what happens."

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