Baucus becoming a leader

Jack Baucus is hoping to make an impact on the field this season, but also feels that he can step in and be a leader as well.

If you look down to the Arizona sideline at any given point during the game, if he's not on the field, you're likely to see Jack Baucus saying something. Whether he's trying to get the Zona Zoo pumped up on a big third down play, encouraging his teammates out on the field, or keeping his teammates on the sidelines in the game, it's clear Baucus has become a vocal leader for the Wildcats.

As a redshirt sophomore, Baucus is stepping up and filling a leadership role that he's been in before earlier in his football career.

"That's the role I've always been used to," Baucus said. "Now that I've been here awhile and I'm getting older, I'm starting to get a little more respect from people. I'm just trying to step up and be a leader because I felt like last year we didn't have the leadership we needed, especially vocally.

"We had great guys on the line like Colin Baxter and obviously Nick (Foles) is a great leader, but neither of them were really vocal unless you get them angry. I feel like I can be positive and vocal about it and keep everyone's energy up, then great things are going to happen."

This season and for the next few seasons, Baucus will have the chance to line up next to his brother Mickey Baucus, the projected starter at left tackle for the 2011 season. The opportunity to line up with his brother is just another element that adds excitement to Jack's upcoming campaign.

"It's great to line up next to Mickey," Baucus said. "The last time that's ever happened was our very first year playing football back in grade school. Having another chance to do this for the next three years, it's a phenomenal feeling."

Also exciting for Baucus is his shot to be the number one tight end this season after redshirting in 2009 and sharing time with A.J. Simmons at the position in 2010. For the 6-foot-6, 255-pound redshirt-sophomore, it's a culmination of his efforts from the past two seasons and the spring that have put him in this position.

"I'm definitely happy to be the number one guy," Baucus said. "I've worked hard for it and I feel like I've earned it, and that it's not just that I'm the only guy left. It's a great feeling."

With the chance to be a full-time player this season, the Mundelein (Ill.) Carmel Catholic product is ready to make a name for himself and build a reputation as a reliable target.

"I think a lot of people around here think I'm just going to be a blocking presence this upcoming season," Baucus said. "I'm ready to show people that not only will I block my butt off, but I'm also going to put it in the end zone at the same time."

Baucus is a part of a receiving core that has high expectations next season, and he's pleased with what he's seen from the group so far through the spring.

"I'm extremely impressed with the receiving core," Baucus said. "I think all of us are doing our best to get better every single day, whether it be in 7-on-7 or in spring ball. Everyone is trying to improve on something.

"It's incredible to see receivers like Terrence Miller and Richard Morsrison, especially with Rich scoring twice on Saturday, and Dan Buckner coming in and doing what we thought he'd do. It's going to be a great year. We can be the best in the Pac-12. Maybe not just best in the Pac-12, maybe even the country."

With spring football completed, Baucus will now begin working over the summer to get himself prepared for the 2011 season and put himself in position to accomplish his goals.

"I'll obviously be working on my strength training," Baucus said. "I'll be trying to get the upper edge on everybody. That and then my hands, so when I get the opportunity to get the ball I can make the most of it.

"My goal since I've gotten here has been to be the best tight end in the Pac-12. I want to prove that I'm here and that I'm the real deal. And I feel like I'm definitely on track for that."

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