Fall camp has already given us some interesting stories for the Arizona football team this year. Every August, the Wildcats seem to produce newsworthy scenarios that tend to catch everyone by surprise and this year hasn't been any different.
With less than a month remaining until UA plays its first contact, the squad is attempting to patch up the holes across the field and smooth out any potential rough patches.
The first surprise was the move of Jack Baucus to the offensive line. Previously a tight end, Baucus weighs in excess of 270 pounds, so head coach Mike Stoops and his staff figured he could be more valuable as a lineman over the long term. The Wildcats' coaching staff thinks so highly of Baucus' potential that they have him running with the first team in practice.
Now whether that is a testament to the state of the offensive line or how good Baucus' currently is in blocking and protection schemes is to be seen, but Stoops and UA offensive line coach Robert Anae must think highly of the converted tight end if he is already playing with the first string.
What else might surprise fans is the emergence of Jonathan McKnight. The cornerback was behind Trevin Wade, Shaquille Richardson and Robert Golden a season ago, but has seemingly played his way into the starting lineup even with those other three still on the roster.
Golden's transition back to safety helped McKnight work his way to the top of the depth chart, but what's surprising is that Wade – a senior – and Richardson – one of the conference's top defensive freshmen a season ago – could find themselves battling for the job opposite McKnight.
Nothing is set in stone as of now, but it seems as if McKnight could very well be starting at the beginning of the season.
Everyone knew months ago that C.J. Parish was projected to be a starting defensive end in the upcoming campaign. What many haven't expected is the way Parish has looked in practice at the position. The senior looks to be transitioning to the position much faster and smoother than anyone could have anticipated.
He has been a big time factor as a pass rusher during practice and his motor is impressive. It's obviously hard to gauge just how well he will perform given UA's young and inexperienced offensive line, but if his play in practice and scrimmages translates to the regular season, Arizona fans could be in for a pleasant surprise.
Another emerging player that could catch some people off guard is true freshman wideout Patrick Onwuasor. Despite having one of the most talented and deep receiving corps in the nation, there is a chance that the Wildcats could utilize Onwuasor this season. Whether it would be as a receiver or on special teams is to be determined, but Onwuasor is going to attempt to work his way into the rotation and his play in camp hasn't hurt his chances in the least.
With plenty of Fall camp still ahead, there could be more surprises that come to fruition. Stoops has been known to shuffle players to different positions and hasn't been reluctant to play his younger players when they play their way into the rotation. There are three weeks left until the start of the 2011 campaign, so the time leading up to that contest should be interesting to monitor.
Fall Camp full of surprises
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