Mike Stoops ushered in an era of navy helmets, and the UA often wore all-blue at home. 


Ricky Elmore will be in familiar, but strange, territory when the Arizona Wildcats land in San Diego this week in preparation for the Holiday Bowl.

The UA junior defensive end grew up in Simi Valley, Calif., a two-hour drive north of San Diego. But he's never spent time in the city.

"We drove through there to go to Mexico a few times," he said. "We'd go down there on family vacations to Ensenada."

Don't even ask about Qualcomm Stadium, the venue that will host the Dec. 30 game.

"What's that?" Elmore said.

"I didn't go to a college game until I played in one. I didn't watch football at all. It would consume too much of my life. I was usually training, working out or playing football. When I had free time, I hung out with my friends."

The Star talked to Elmore about final exams, Christmas, Batman and the big game:

Finals ended Friday. How'd you do?

"I got good grades this semester. I'm a student-athlete - student first."

What was your toughest final?

"Probably Public Health 425. It's all about diseases and stuff. I learned about prevention. … You know, it makes you a little bit paranoid, more than anything else. It makes you want to be safer and make better decisions."

Speaking of bad decisions, the Pac-10 coaches left you off the all-conference team. Was that hard to stomach?

"It really is. I know the guys personally who won first-team, and they're good guys. They deserved it, but I felt like I had a better year than them. That's the way the cards fell. I have one more year."

Is there any way to justify their logic?

"I just keep telling myself it's politics. It's just a popularity contest. (Arizona State's) Dexter Davis had a great career, but I thought I had a better year."

How are you going to celebrate Christmas?

"(Laughs) In a hotel. Hopefully, I can sleep late. I think we're going to celebrate Christmas when I get home."

What do you want for Christmas?

"As you get older, you really don't need anything. Probably just some new clothes."

What's your most memorable Christmas gift?

"We got a pool table one year. That was pretty cool. I was like 9. That's why it was so exciting. It was just there in the morning; I was like, 'No way!'"

Your twin brother, Cory, goes to the UA. Is he hard to shop for?

"Nah. I just ask, 'What do you want?' and then he tells me."

What's the best gift he ever gave you?

"I'm like, obsessed with Batman. There was a Bat-Signal fluorescent light, like the 'Open' sign from a store. He got that for me last year. It was the coolest gift I've ever gotten from a sibling."

Where's the sign now?

"It's in my room, hanging out with all the Batman posters, the Fatheads of Batman, the pictures of Batman. … I'm obsessed."

Who's the best Batman villain?

"Joker. Heath Ledger, man."

Back to football: What are your impressions of Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska's star defensive tackle?

"He just has such a presence when I look at him. It's overwhelming to see how big somebody can be and how fast they can be. It's really good to see a defensive lineman be such a premier player. It gives me motivation that I can be that way, too, that I can be that kind of a player if I work hard enough."