Ex-Arizona Wildcat on ASU rivalry: ‘We hate those guys’by Anthony Gimino on Nov. 29, 2010, under Sports
Former Arizona Wildcats offensive tackle Eben Britton has no need to hold back how he feels about Arizona State.
“We hate those guys,” Britton said Monday. “There are no ifs, ands or buts about it.”
Britton, who left after his junior season and was a second-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2009, is in town this week to watch the Territorial Cup showdown between Arizona and ASU. Britton, the Jags’ starting right tackle, suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in late October.
He was wandering the halls of McKale Center on Monday morning when he got pulled into Arizona’s weekly interview session with coach Mike Stoops and selected players.
“It’s bitter, man,” he said of the rivalry. “As a young guy, you come in and you don’t really understand that hatred.”
It takes only one time.
“It’s a lot of fun to play those guys,” Britton said. “It gets nasty. Especially in the trenches. That’s what it’s all about.”
And what gets said in those trenches?
“A lot of stuff you can’t say on TV, probably,” Britton said. “You name it, it’s getting said. People are spitting on each other. It’s nasty. That’s how this rivalry is. That makes it fun. It’s awesome for that.”
Britton noted that Jacksonville’s offensive coordinator is former Arizona State head coach Dirk Koetter, so they had a little wager on last year’s game. Arizona won 20-17 on a last-play field goal from Alex Zendejas.
“Thankfully, we won and I got to talk a little smack to him in the locker room,” Britton said of Koetter. “He’s a great coach. We had a good time with it.”
Britton, who has started 22 games for the Jaguars, suffered a torn labrum last month and underwent surgery, performed by the renowned Dr. James Andrews. He was on the sideline a couple of weeks when former Arizona teammate Mike Thomas, a second-year receiver for the Jaguars, caught a deflected Hail Mary pass on the last play of the game for a 31-24 victory over Houston.
“Pandemonium,” Britton said.
“It was amazing. Mike is one of those guys that, to be honest with you, he’s doing the same thing in the NFL that he did here for four years. He is really making a name for himself. Everybody is going to know about Mike Thomas is a few years.
“It’s exciting to see, and it’s good to have a good friend that I know so well on the team in the NFL. It has made the transition a lot easier.”
Britton and Thomas were part of the group that helped Arizona get to the Las Vegas Bowl in 2008, its first postseason appearance in 10 years. Now, the Cats will be playing in their third consecutive bowl game.
“After being out for two years, and seeing the guys that I played with doing so well and finally getting the ball rolling here — especially last year — makes me proud to be a Wildcat,” Britton said.
“Now, we’ve got to take it to these guys this week. That’s just the way it’s gotta be, and that’s way this rivalry is. They’re going to come at us, and we’ve got to come at them a little bit harder.”