Veterans report, anxious for season

Arizona's veterans reported on Wednesday to receive their equipment and talk about the upcoming season and mentality of the team.

Wednesday marked the final day before the start of fall camp as the veterans checked in and received their equipment. The season may not actually start until September 3 against NAU, but the buzz is already in full swing.

"We're going to be good," said senior quarterback Matt Scott. "This I think is one of the most athletic teams we've had in a while."

And the athleticism starts on the offensive side of the ball where wide out Dan Buckner and running back Keola Antolin both admitted to getting stronger during the offseason.

"I made it a point to get bigger," said Antolin. "I know I'll be used more this year, so I prepared for that."

Similar to the newcomers on Tuesday, the mood was lively and positive. While the Pac-12 coaches picked the Wildcats to finish fourth in the Pac-12 South, that doesn't seem to change expectations one bit, because if it's one thing these veterans know, it's that games are decided on the field, not on paper.

"It's really not a big deal to us," said senior linebacker Derek Earls. "Yeah it's unfortunate having some of these injuries, but we know we're still a good team, so I'm not too worried."

Arizona goes into camp without some key players on defense, most notably linebacker Jake Ficher and safety Adam Hall. Both said on Wednesday that they hope to eventually play at some point this year, but it's still too early to make any big predictions.

While both of these guys may be out, their veteran leadership during camp could prove invaluable as the season progresses.

"Honestly my goal is just to kind of be a teacher out there to the younger guys," said Hall. "I'm kind of a veteran on this team now and I think the more I can pass along to these guys the better."

Now that everyone has their equipment, it's finally time to put it to use. They'll waste no time doing so, as camp will officially get under way bright and early Thursday morning.

"I think I have my alarm set for four, maybe 4:30," said a smiling Derek Earls. "Should be fun."

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