Tutogi ready to break through

Taimi Tutogi has battled injury since arriving at Arizona, but now feels that this could be the year he hits his potential.

Even though Taimi Tutogi finished the spring with only seven yards on three touches in Saturday's Spring Game, he still believes that he had a successful month of practices leading up to the game.

"I think I did pretty good this spring," Tutogi said. "I just came out every day and was tough, it wasn't full pads but we fought through it. Spring is always like that though. I think I came out pretty good every day.

"I got my blocking down, got the plays down for running back and ‘Y'. I know we're short on depth, so I'm going to have to play it all and I'm just taking it all in right now."

With the injuries to Greg Nwoko and Kylan Butler during spring ball, Tutogi may be called upon to fill in at numerous positions, including running back. Although he has just 11 carries in his Arizona career, Tutogi is ready to carry the ball if necessary.

"I played fullback in high school but I got the ball a lot," Tutogi said. "I'm really comfortable playing with the ball in my hands, I love the ball in my hands. I'll do anything for this team. They can put me on the line, play Y, I'll play fullback or they can give me the ball and I'll try to work some magic with it."

The ability to play multiple positions in the backfield is something the 6-foot-1, 258-pound soon-to-be junior believes will help keep him on the field.

"My versatility definitely helps me," Tutogi said. "Through the spring they had me playing tight end, doing a lot of fullback stuff, and playing running back when we needed running backs. With Greg Nwoko and K.B. being hurt I had to step in. I'm just trying to show them I can do it all and hopefully get to the next level at one position."

It's been a difficult road to this point in his Arizona career for Tutogi, who battled knee and foot injuries as an underclassman. Heading into his third year with the team, Tutogi is not having any problems with his foot and feels like he's near full strength.

"Right now the foot feels really good," Tutogi said. "I don't have any trouble with it, no problems. I just have to keep getting in the training room to get treatment on it and keep doing rehab. That's the key thing in football-everyone has to stay healthy.

"I think overall I'm alright, I'm a little banged up from the spring. But other than that, I'm ready to go."

Even though he hopes to stay on the field for the duration of the 2011, he's aware of the prevalence of injuries in the game but is willing to leave it all on the field for his teammates should the injury bug bite for the third consecutive season.

"Everyone gets injured, it's just a question of how bad the injury is and if I can push through it," Tutogi said. "I'm going to do what I can and I'm going to push through for my team. I'm going to do whatever it takes to win the Pac-10."

If he is able to stay healthy though, the Chula Vista (Calif.) Chula Vista High School product foresees a big season ahead for himself.

"This year I really think is that year I break through," Tutogi said. "Last year I played a little hesitant, I can admit. I was injured; I was coming off a knee injury and a foot injury and I just didn't know how it was going to feel and I didn't want to tweak it or anything.

"This year I feel 100 percent. Hopefully camp goes well, and I cane come out and do what I can to put on a show for the fans and score and lay some big blocks and get that Pac-10."

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