Arizona Wildcats coach Mike Stoops was asked what quality new offensive line coach Robert Anae brought to the team.
“Patience,” Stoops said with a chuckle.
Anae has been working this spring with a bunch of pups. Big pups to be sure. But pups nonetheless. The all-new offensive line will display the results of Anae’s work Saturday at the team’s final spring scrimmage at Arizona Stadium (1:30 p.m.).
“Everybody since day one after the bowl game has been saying, ‘What’s going to happen with Arizona with their offensive line being young?’” said junior guard Trace Biskin. “You know, whatever.
“We come out here and just try to get better. We don’t care how old we are. We’re just looking to get better every day. Coach Anae stresses that as long as we play tough, we’re going to be fine.
“You can correct mistakes, but you can’t correct toughness.”
So, that’s two buzzwords for the offensive line this spring: Patience and toughness.
Perhaps continuity is another.
From the pre-spring depth chart, through the first public scrimmage a couple of weeks ago, and likely including Saturday’s spring game, the starting five has been like this:
LT Mickey Baucus, redshirt freshman
LG Chris Putton, sophomore
C Kyle Quinn, junior
RG Trace Biskin, junior
RT Fabbians Ebbele, redshirt freshman
The only career start belongs to Quinn, who started the Alamo Bowl in place of injured Colin Baxter.
Quinn should emerge as the leader of the line and one of the team’s unofficial spokesmen.
“We’re definitely developing an attitude to where we don’t want to be talked about in a negative way,” Quinn said.
“We want people to be talking about us in a positive way, like, ‘Hey, the o-line is doing good,’ and people don’t have to worry about us. We’re just getting to work and getting dirty down here.”
Without any senior offensive linemen on the two-deep, this group — and its new position coach — has a chance to grow up together. How fast is the key.
Arizona has its best collection of skill-position players under Stoops, but the whole attack could unravel without solid play from the line.
“I think the big thing is they’re starting to get more comfortable with each other,” said senior quarterback Nick Foles. “This is the first time they’ve been together as one unit. A lot of them last year were on scout team, so it’s a whole new atmosphere.”
The Wildcats, fresh off a third-straight bowl appearance last December, hit the field for spring practice. This will provide coaches some quality time to evaluate players and positions as the program retools for the inaugural 2011 Pac-12 season this fall. Please join us on April 16 for the annual Spring Game at Arizona Stadium. The Fan Fest opens at 10:30 a.m. on the McKale Lawn. We will have pre-game food by Rincon Market and El Charro Cafe, games and fun activity stations, and a few past Wildcat football “greats” will be coming back to sign autographs at 12:30. There will be no tailgating, but this event is free to the public and will be a great time for the entire family. Then join us at Arizona Stadium for the Spring Game. Ticket office personnel will be inside to answer any question about the upcoming season and to help renew or purchase season tickets. Concessions will be open and fans are invited to sit in the east grandstand. Game time is set for 1:30 p.m.
Who: Arizona Football
What: Football Spring Game
Where: McKale Lawn & Arizona Stadium
When: Fan Fest opens at 10:30 am & the Spring Game kicks off at 1:30 pm
Confirmed Wildcat football “Greats”: Michael Bates, Lance Briggs, Eben Britton, Antonie Cason, Rob Gronkowski, LaMonte Hunley, Mike Thomas and many more…