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Arizona’s Turner trying to regain team’s trust

Citizen Staff Writer



Mike Turner has to earn the trust of his coaches and teammates before he can earn a starting spot with the University of Arizona football team.

The cornerback is ready for that challenge.

“I have to prove to them and myself that I can do the job,” Turner said. ” . . . I have to come in and represent myself as a (highly regarded recruit). I can’t be all talk. I knew I had to give it my all each and every day and raise the bar.”

The Wildcats are convinced the 5-foot-11, 190-pounder can get the job done eventually on the field, but they want to make sure he takes care of his commitments off the field as well.

Turner spent the 2008 season suspended for violations of team rules.

“I don’t even want to talk about it – just move on,” Turner said. “That’s in the past. The past is history. This is the present.”

Turner is getting a clean slate, and so far through the first half of spring drills the results have been good.

“He is trying hard to prove himself and earn our trust and get into a position he can get on the field and help us,” UA defensive coordinator Mark Stoops said.

“I like what we have seen,” he said. “I think he has grown up in maturity over the last year. Physically he is playing well.”

Turner is in the mix for playing time but is a backup right now to Devin Ross.

That is not where Turner hopes to finish.

“No. I’m, not happy with where I am,” Turner said. “I am going to work harder to get where I want.”

Turner has shown glimpses of being an impact player even with little playing time. The junior was going back and forth from receiver to cornerback.

He caught three passes for 10 yards during the 2007 season, and ran a reverse for six yards.

“Defense is home now,” Turner said. “I will never go back to offense. I am a hitter. I like to hit instead of being hit.”

Turner did his best trying to slow down Mike Thomas and the other Wildcat receivers a year ago during scout team drills. That was his way to stay involved in the sport despite not being allowed to play in games.

Trying to contain Thomas, the Pac-10 record-holder for receptions, taught him a thing or two.

“Reading them and seeing what routes they ran helped me out a lot,” Turner said. “Playing against guys like that made me even hungrier to be on the field (on game days).

“Going through all the work and not playing in games was tough. Missing last year hurt me. I’m more hungry and determined and more focused on what I have to do and not be distracted by anything.”

‘I’m more hungry and determined. . . .’


UA cornerback, on sitting out last season

• Spring Game: 1:30 p.m., April 4 (Fan Fiesta, noon), Arizona Stadium

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