Arizona Wildcats notebook: New OL, Jamelle Horne, baseball transfer, softball stuffby Anthony Gimino on Aug. 10, 2010, under Sports
You might not have been able to tell from the kind of vocabulary offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh was using during Monday’s practice, but he seems to really like his young offensive linemen.
It’s this group of four true freshmen, combined with three redshirt freshman offensive linemen from the class of 2009, that will be the future foundation of everything the Wildcats want to do on offense.
For now, the true freshmen might give up a speed rush to Brooks Reed coming off the edge in practice. They might not go hard every time from snap to whistle. That’s OK. It’s early. What is encouraging is they look the part.
Mickey Baucus, Fabbians Ebbele, Carter Lees and Trent Spurgeon are part of what appears to be Mike Stoops’ most physically impressive freshman class.
“These guys, there are all in the 6-6 to 6-8 range, and they all have long arms, and they are all 290 to 300 pounds. They’re athletes,” Bedenbaugh, also the co-offensive coordinator, said of his linemen.
“But the biggest thing is, just mentally picking up the game. They’re getting a lot of reps right now, but it’s going to take some time.”
With six seniors and one junior (guard Vaughn Dotsy) in the two-deep, Arizona doesn’t have much margin or error with injuries. The experience drops off quickly. Redshirt freshman Eric Bender-Ramsay is listed as a possible backup at left tackle. Chris Putton is a second-stringer at left guard.
The opportunity could be there for a true freshman.
“We’ve got to have one of them develop in case we get into a situation where we need them,” Bedenbaugh said.
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When Lindy’s National College Basketball magazine hits the newsstands in a few weeks, Arizona will be picked to finish second in the Pac-10 behind certain-unanimous pick Washington.
Lindy’s won’t have the Wildcats in its preseason Top 25, but UA will be right on the fringes, which sounds about right as Sean Miller‘s team looks to climb after a 16-15 season.
I wrote the Arizona preview for the magazine (although I did not have any input in the rankings). While interviewing Miller for the magazine, I asked him if he had learned in his first year which buttons to push with senior-to-be forward Jamelle Horne.
“I think one things players always respect is honesty. I thought I was very honest in coaching Jamelle last year, as was our staff, and we had some very direct conversations this spring,” Miller said.
“The only thing I can judge Jamelle on is what he does past those conversations.”
Since the end of last semester, Horne stayed in Tucson and attended summer pre-session classes and both regular summer sessions. “He didn’t have to do that,” Miller said.
And he was devoted to his workouts.
“He has done a great job in the classroom,” Miller said. “Physically, he has probably has made as much improvement as anybody on our team. He’s much stronger, heavier. I think he is in a good place.”
Now, Horne just needs to devote himself to having a full-time rebounding mentality.
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Various reports in the past few weeks have said that Kentucky shortstop/third baseman Andy Burns will be transferring to Arizona. Burns hit .271 as a sophomore last season, starting 44 of the team’s 56 games. He hit 11 home runs, one off the team lead.
Burns was a two-time state player of the year at Rocky Mountain High in Colorado Springs, Colo., and was the 38th-best prospect in the nation after his senior season, according to Baseball America. The Colorado Rockies selected him in the 25th round in the 2008 draft.
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Former Arizona Wildcat Chris Gronkowski, an undrafted rookie fullback, has been catching the eye of Dallas Cowboys coach Wade Phillips in training camp. The Cowboys opened the exhibition season over the weekend against the Cincinnati Bengals. In his evaluation a day later, Phillips said about Gronkowski, “For a rookie, I thought he played well.” If Gronkowski makes the team, it will be in no small part because of his coachability and work ethic … and his ability to help on special teams helps, too.
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Three Arizona softball recruits — each of whom will be entering their senior seasons of high school — are playing with the U.S. junior women’s national team at the 18-under Pan Am Championships in Bogota, Columbia. The trio of outfielder Hallie Wilson, catcher Chelsea Goodacre and shortstop Shelby Pendley were a combined 5-of-7 with four RBIs and four stolen bases in the first two games, each won by the United States via no-hitters. …
More softball: Arizona senior-to-be outfielder Brittany Lastrapes should have been with the U.S. Futures team at the Japan Cup in Sendai City last week. But she was in Tucson, still feeling the effects of the mononucleosis that she fought through at the Women’s College World Series in early June. Team USA, helped by ex-Cat third baseman Jenae Leles, won that event with a 5-0 victory against Japan on Sunday.
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Arizona outfielder Steve Selsky, who will be a junior next season (assuming he doesn’t sign before Aug. 15 after being a 34th-round pick of the Colorado Rockies), has homered in three consecutive games in the Cape Cod League playoffs. Selsky and UA teammate Kyle Simon are playing for the Orleans (Mass.) Firebirds in the East Division Finals. Simon had a 0.92 ERA in seven regular-season starts in the summer league, spanning 39 innings.