At 6 feet 5 inches and 360 pounds, guard Vaughn Dotsy just might be the Arizona Wildcats' most imposing player.
"He'd probably scare a bear," quarterback Nick Foles said.
After spending time in football hibernation, Dotsy is finally back where he belongs: the starting lineup.
Dotsy will line up at right guard when 24th-ranked Arizona takes on No. 9 Iowa on Saturday at Arizona Stadium. His first start of the season will be both "cool," Dotsy said, and "a big accomplishment."
"Coming into the season, I didn't know if I was going to be able to play this year," he said. "I thought I might have to redshirt, but I got back, got in shape and I'm ready to go."
Dotsy underwent a microdiscectomy - the same surgery that shelved tight end Rob Gronkowski for all of last season - in March. Doctors removed part of a ruptured disk from his back, releasing pressure on his sciatic nerve and easing the pain that ran down both his legs.
Recovery was tedious.
Dotsy missed all of spring drills and the first half of training camp before being cleared to play. He spent the latter part of August working on abdominal exercises and stretches designed to keep his surgically repaired back loose.
Dotsy, 21, played a few snaps against Toledo in Week 1 before taking over for Jovon Hayes midway through last week's win over The Citadel.
Dotsy will now try to round into playing shape - which, for an offensive lineman, is relative. Dotsy weighs exactly 360 pounds now; he'd like to lose another 10 pounds by the start of Pac-10 play. As someone with recurring back injuries, Dotsy must keep what he calls his "manly girth" in check.
This week, though, the extra size may help him. Iowa boasts one of the nation's toughest, most physical defensive lines; the Wildcats need all the size they can get.
"I think it's a good challenge for me," Dotsy said with a smile. "I love challenges."
Keola the conqueror
The Wildcats have discovered a star receiver - at running back.
Keola Antolin is the team's second-leading receiver; through two games, the diminutive junior has caught nine passes for 76 yards and a touchdown. Only wide receiver Juron Criner has caught more passes for more yards.
"We're trying to get the ball to the backs as much as possible - more than last year," Antolin said. "It's cool, definitely, to get a little package out there for the backs."
Antolin has always been one of the Wildcats' best pass-catching backs. He caught seven passes for 24 yards as a true freshman in 2008, and 17 for 83 yards in 2009. Antolin, 5 feet 9inches, is on pace to smash his single-season highs.
"Keola is dangerous," tailback Nicolas Grigsby said. "When he catches the ball, because he's little, a lot of people don't see him out there."
Catching comes naturally for Antolin. He played slot receiver his junior season at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, catching 33 passes. When the Gaels switched to a Wing-T attack before Antolin's senior year, he switched to tailback.
Antolin said there's one key to catching passes.
"Look it in," he said. "I dropped a couple balls back in the day. I had to learn from that."
Hall could go
Safety Adam Hall is officially listed as probable for Saturday's game after suffering a "stinger" in his left shoulder during last week's win over The Citadel.
In fact, the odds of him playing may be better than that. Hall returned to practice Wednesday and was able to go full speed.
"I feel good," Hall said. "I'll be all right."
• What: Iowa at Arizona
• When: 7:30 p.m., Saturday
• TV: ESPN
• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM, 990-AM (Spanish)