Tutogi excited for bigger role

With a run-heavy offense, Taimi Tutogi is expecting an increased role. Read on to see his thoughts on the transition, his expanded role, and more.

Taimi Tutogi had one total carry in 2010 before racking up 25 rushes in 2011. He had five total touchdowns last season and that may be why the coaches have looked to him more this spring.

The coaches used the big fullback to attack the end zone in the first spring scrimmage last week. Having a big body, Tutogi can power his way to a few extra yards. The new offense has given the senior a reason to feel optimistic about the coming season.

"I like the offense," Tutogi said. "It's fast and a lot of defenses can't cover it.

"It's better than what I've seen here. The guys on offense like it."

Tutogi also feels that he will get some more playing time and have his number called more often this coming fall.

"I think I'm going to get a lot more touches this year, since I've been here," he said. "I'm pretty excited for that."

The Wildcats struggled in the red zone last season, lacking an offensive threat. Tutogi may be Arizona's answer to that this year, as he has been compared, by the coaches, to former West Virginia fullback Owen Schmitt.

"He's a monster," Tutogi said. "They're comparing me to him. I'm definitely going to have to step my game up and set a new standard."

However, the senior knows that he needs to take one step at a time. He acknowledges, like his teammates, that the offense is tough to learn. Tutogi's approach is to get the plays down right and get his conditioning up to a performance level.

The fullback may be taking the proper steps to impress his new coach, but the overall effort from the team is still lacking in certain areas. Rich Rodriguez cancelled practice Monday afternoon and took the team into the film room to watch the game tape.

"I think the scrimmage went well," Tutogi said. "Everyone has their opinion, but we still have a lot of work to do.

"I thought (Monday) was good. I think it's good for coaches to rip some guys that mess up and let them know when they're wrong."

Tutogi thought that the criticism from the coaches was beneficial to the team. He respects the time that the staff has put in to protecting the offensive and defensive schemes.

"He has run this offense and knows the defense like the back of his hand," Tutogi said of Rodriguez. "We just take it in and work on his comments."

Tutogi knows that he still has a lot to work on, but has done well so far.

"Rodriguez didn't get on me as much as other guys, but I know my turn is coming," Tutogi said.

Even with all the yelling, toughness, and constant running, Tutogi and his teammates are trying to stay focused.

"With the new offense and new defense, we're all excited to show it off," he said. "We want to show what Arizona is going to be about this year."


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