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Moredich: Golden expectations to be the best

Freshman cornerback wants to be ‘the greatest’

Arizona cornerback Robert Golden (right) defends against wide receiver Terrell Reese. Golden, a high school all-American in Fresno, Calif., is being asked to fill in for Antoine Cason. "Robert is more physically stronger and a little bigger," UA coach Mike Stoops says.

Arizona cornerback Robert Golden (right) defends against wide receiver Terrell Reese. Golden, a high school all-American in Fresno, Calif., is being asked to fill in for Antoine Cason. "Robert is more physically stronger and a little bigger," UA coach Mike Stoops says.

Robert Golden is not a shy, timid freshman. Those are not the words to describe the Arizona Wildcat freshman defensive back after three days of fall workouts.

“I want to be the greatest,” Golden said Wednesday after popping his share of receivers and running backs on the first day of work in shoulder pads at Tucson High.

The 5-foot-11, 190-pound cornerback wasn’t exactly boasting, or making a declaration. He was telling the truth.

Golden’s goal is not simply to get on the field and play this season. It is obvious he wants to be the best.

“I am going to work hard to make my game better,” said Golden, who was a high school all-American in Fresno, Calif. “I do want to be the greatest and to do that I have to work hard and do everything perfect. That is what my attitude is.”

The highest profile prospect from UA’s 2008 recruiting class is being asked to fill in for Antoine Cason, who was the top cornerback in college football a year ago as the Jim Thorpe Award winner.

Golden was said to be ahead of Cason at comparable stages through their high school careers.

That seems to remain the case.

“Robert may be further along. I don’t know what his top end is as a player,” UA coach Mike Stoops said. “Robert is more physically stronger and a little bigger.

“Antoine was a little longer but they have a lot of similar characteristics. They have the willingness to compete and prepare and learn every time they step on the field. They are very focused on technique and very coachable. That is another sign of great players.”

Golden is not afraid to put his shoulder down and knock someone to the ground.

He was involved in confrontations during Wednesday’s morning workout, hitting tailback Nic Grigsby hard to the ground, which upset several players on offense.

He also got tough with receiver Terrell Turner.

Golden is not going to back away from a little chitchat after plays are over, either.

“No. I’m not intimidated at all,” Golden said. “I am going to come out and play hard all the time and be physical. That is how you have to be at the Pac-10 level. Physical is how I am going to be every time I step on the field. . . . Intimidation is not going to be a factor.”

He is not guaranteed a starting job. As well as Golden has performed, returning players Marquis Hundley and Devin Ross have a firm grasp of the starting cornerback positions.

Golden should see a lot of playing time no matter what. He’s the real deal.

He was coached in high school by Tim McDonald, a former USC and NFL standout, and is trained in the fundamentals.

When a mistake was made, or a coverage is messed up, Golden immediately received one-on-one tutoring from Stoops.

Cason wound up starting from the first game of his career and never relinquished his spot in an all-star career.

Golden is aiming to be even better.

jmoredich@tucsoncitizen.com

John Moredich’s e-mail:

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UA FOOTBALL KEY DATES

Aug. 4: Practice started

Aug. 14-16: Workouts in Fort Huachuca

Aug. 23: Fan Appreciation Day, scrimmage, 10:30 a.m., Arizona Stadium

Aug. 30: Opener vs. Idaho, 7 p.m., Arizona Stadium

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