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Arizona football notes: Criner misses ESPN trip; d-line issue; Heisman odds

Juron Criner will have to get his ESPN publicity on some other day. Photo by Rick Osentoski/US PRESSWIRE

Arizona Wildcats senior wide receiver Juron Criner had planned to do multiple interviews today on various ESPN shows, including SportsCenter and College Football Live. But an Arizona official said Criner had to cancel his trip because of family reasons.

Criner had been scheduled to appear on the ESPN campus in Bristol, Conn., with USC quarterback Matt Barkley and Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas in a mini-media blitz for the Pac-10 (soon to be Pac-12).

It would have been a nice showcase for Criner and the Wildcats. …

Arizona might not have senior defensive lineman Dominique Austin for the 2011 season. He is in summer school, but we hear he has significant work to do in order to play this year.

The coaching staff tried Austin (6-foot-4, 292) at defensive end this spring, trying to add some size at the position, especially for when the Cats face power running teams (such as Stanford).

Austin was listed as a second-string end in the spring behind senior C.J. Parish. Mohammed Usman is considered the starter on the other side. Both are listed at 245 pounds.

Arizona is going to need significant contributions from redshirt freshman end Dan Pettinato and incoming junior college transfer Lamar De Rego, among others. …

Arizona quarterback Nick Foles is a 45-1 favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, as listed by Bodog.com. Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is, naturally and logically, the betting favorite at 9-2.

But those aren’t good odds on Foles, even if he puts up big numbers this season as the Wildcats figure to lean more heavily on their four-wide spread passing game. For Foles to come anywhere near the Heisman, Arizona is going to have to have a H-U-G-E season. That is just how the (often lazy) Heisman voting works — the votes simply go to the QB of an elite team.

Consider: Nine of the past 11 Heisman winners have been quarterbacks. The combined record of their teams at the end of the regular season was 102-9. The worst team mark among the Heisman winners in that time was 9-3 (Tim Tebow’s Florida team in 2007).

Foles won’t gain any traction unless the Cats, generally picked someone in the middle of the Pac-12, pull off a couple of big upsets in September.

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