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Q&A with Arizona Wildcats receiver Juron Criner

Arizona's Juron Criner earned some second-team All-American honors last season. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

On Wednesday, I told you how the soon-to-be Pac-12 had selected Arizona senior receiver Juron Criner to be part of its summer promotional tour for football, which includes a trip to Bristol, Conn., to make the interview rounds at ESPN>.

That came out of an Tuesday interview with Criner for a feature for Lindy’s Pac-12 magazine and for an Arizona summer preview package that will run all summer at azcentral.com. (Look for that package to debut on Friday … and the Lindy’s magazine later this summer).

Until then, he is more of our conversation with Criner for TucsonCitizen.com:

Q: What will the addition of Texas transfer receiver Dan Buckner mean to you?

CRINER: “Even off the field, he helps me stay focused. He gives me hints and different techniques that he tried. He tells me what I can work on, what I should try. As far as on the field, he provides a whole other threat. If they double me, who’s going to hold him? If they double him, how are they going to double me? As for as the short-long thing, I feel we can both feed off each other. If I go short, he can go long, and one of us is going to be open. If he goes short and I go long, one of us is going to be open.”

Q: Talking to some draft analysts, the thing scouts are really going to be curious about is your 40 time. If you went out this summer and ran a 40, what do you think it would be?

CRINER: “I would get nothing higher than a 4.5 flat. Nothing higher.”

Q: Have you tested lately?

CRINER: “The last time I tested I was in high school, to tell you the truth. I was kind of slow coming out of high school, so running 40s and speed have never really been my thing. But I have casually gotten faster over the years.”

Q: Defensive tackle Willie Mobley recently blew out his knee playing hoops. Do the coaches tell you to back off playing basketball?

CRINER: “They don’t necessarily tell me, but I know it’s in the back of their heads. I know they know that I need to be careful. If I’m doing something like that, it’s not just to play. It’s to get a run in, to stay in shape. I just run up and down the court a few times, and then I’m done. I don’t try to do anything too serious, because that’s not my sport.”

Q: You seemed to have some sort of injury problems (concussion, turf toe, stress fracture in foot, ribs) all of last season. Was there one that was more troublesome than the others?

CRINER: “I would say the turf toe. I felt like I was protecting it. If I cut, I wouldn’t cut as hard or I couldn’t even make the cut. I wouldn’t trust it while running, so I would just run out of bounds or just go down, when I could have stayed up and done something else.”

Q: You played at what percent healthy overall last season?

CRINER: “I would say at about 75, 80 percent. Although I was hurt, it wasn’t going to be anything that slowed me down tremendously like a knee injury would.”

Q: What do you see different from quarterback Nick Foles in the spring?

CRINER: “The most outstanding thing is his leadership. Coach Stoops has been on us about having more leadership within the team, and I feel it hit Nick the hardest. With him being the quarterback, he felt like he had to be the one to step up. His leadership skills have gotten a lot better and a lot more aggressive.”

Q: What responsibility do you take for the leadership?

CRINER: “I’m more of the lead-by-example guy. I do whatever Nick asks of me. I’m the one who is trying to make sure everyone else is doing it with me. I’m the one saying, ‘Either you are going to do it with me and do it the right way, or you’re just not.’ If you don’t want to listen to me, there’s nothing I can say.”

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