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WR Bug Wright dismissed, but Arizona has promising replacements

Bug Wright catches the game-winning TD pass aganist Iowa.
Photo by Chris Morrison, US PRESSWIRE

The Arizona football team is deepest at receiver, even with senior Bug Wright no longer with the Wildcats.

“Just a violation of team policies and rules,” coach Mike Stoops said Wednesday morning. “It’s been a chronic problem that hasn’t rectified itself.”

Stoops said he didn’t know what Wright would do next. Wright, who has used his redshirt season, would have to transfer to a lower-division school to continue playing because he wouldn’t have to sit out a year.

Stoops announced the suspension of Wright on Nov. 23, clarifying that it wasn’t for legal or academic reasons. Wright was reinstated for the Alamo Bowl, where he promptly muffed the first punt of the game, giving the ball and early momentum to Oklahoma State, which converted the turnover into a 7-0 lead.

Wright made 25 catches for 294 yards and two touchdowns last season, including making the game-winning touchdown catch against Iowa.

As a 5-foot-9 inside receiver, Wright caught 51 passes in three seasons with the Wildcats. He had a punt return for a touchdown against Washington State in 2009.

Arizona has plenty of options for Wright’s “small” inside receiver spot, notably sophomore Richard Morrison, who had six catches for 66 yards in the Alamo Bowl. Morrison, who converted from quarterback before last season, had started to become a factor at midseason before a shoulder injury kept him out for about a month.

“Richard Morrison emerged in the bowl game,” Stoops said. “And Garic Wharton is a guy we have to get involved in this offense because he has tremendous speed. We feel like we’re good at that position.”

Wharton, who redshirted last season as a freshman, might be the fastest guy on the team. Stoops said Wharton is slated to be the team’s primary kick returner following the graduation of Travis Cobb. Wharton likely will get a tryout at punt returner, too.

“We have to get his hands on the ball five to eight times a game,” Stoops said.

As for replacing Wright at punt returner, Arizona could turn to receiver David Douglas, who filled in last season and is the team’s “hands” punt catcher. He’s not much of a threat for a big return, though.

For those explosive plays, Stoops said the coaching staff will look at some of the team’s young defensive backs, including Joe Jonathan McKnight and Shaquille Richardson, as well as senior cornerback Trevin Wade.

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