Arizona-Oregon notes: Wade’s return, King James, practicing fastby Anthony Gimino on Nov. 22, 2010, under Sports
Trevin Wade’s banishment to the bench will last only one game.
Arizona Wildcats coach Mike Stoops said Monday morning that the junior cornerback will be back in the starting lineup for Friday’s game at top-ranked Oregon.
True freshman Shaquille Richardson got the start in the last game, against USC, with Wade playing off the bench. The plan is to use those two, plus starting cornerback Robert Golden.
“We’re just trying to rotate all three of them,” Stoops said.
Wade has struggled this season, suffering a thigh injury against Oregon State and giving up too many big plays.
“He’s a got a great attitude,” said co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Greg Brown.
“I mean, he’s come out, he’s practicing hard, he’s into it, going 100 miles an hour, very helpful with Shaquille and Jonathan McKnight, the younger guys. He’s done a great job. My hat’s off to him. His back was to the wall, and he’s come out swinging.”
It will be interesting to see if Arizona follows the model Cal used in slowing down the high-scoring Ducks two weeks ago — and we’re not talking about allegedly faking injuries.
The Bears challenged Oregon by bringing down personnel, spying on quarterback Darron Thomas, crowding the line of scrimmage and playing man coverage on the outside. If Arizona dares Thomas to throw, Wade, Golden and Richardson are going to have to be up to the task.
King James of the Pac-10
Oregon sophomore running back LaMichael James had, by his standards, a modest game in the Ducks’ 44-41 double-overtime win against Arizona last season — 117 yards and no touchdowns on 19 carries.
James leads the nation with 158.0 yards per game.
“His speed and balance is the best I’ve seen,” Stoops said. “I’ve said that since Day 1. I thought he was the best running back we’ve seen in a long, long time.
“You can be in great position, but he is going to make you miss. Guys are going to fall over him. He’s going to keep his feet going. He’s going to break a tackle. And that’s where a lot of issues occur.
“You can play something perfectly and he just finds a little bit of a crease, and he makes a big play out of it.”
James was announced Monday afternoon as one of three finalists for the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation’s top running back. The other choices are Wisconsin’s John Clay and Oklahoma State’s Kendall Hunter.
And, bad news for Arizona, James’ left ankle appears to be just fine.
It’s impossible to recreate the speed of the Oregon offense with a scout team, but the Arizona coaches hope they can do something to prepare the Wildcats for the Ducks’ go-go tempo.
“It’s not easy,” Brown said.
He said that when the scouts are ready to go at the line of scrimmage, the defenders will be off the ball, with their backs to the offense so that they don’t see the formation.
“So, they don’t have any clue,” Brown said. “And then we’ll say, ‘The call is x,y, z, ready … break! And, then, our defenders have to turn around and run to the line of scrimmage and locate where everybody is, get lined up and go.
“As soon as the scout team runs that play, then the defenders turn around and run right back to us and do the same thing.”
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Related: ESPN.com’s Ted Miller: Arizona has a puncher’s shot at Oregon