SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - The offensive line has seen players come and go in recent years, but one of the more consistent parts of it has been senior Mickey Baucus.
"When we all first met each other we were a bunch of kids and we were kind of lost, but we had a great group of seniors, especially on the offensive line," Baucus said. "They helped guide us. Colin Baxter, Adam Grant, Phil Garcia and those guys.
"It just made the transition so much easier. This group has really grown up, especially this last season. We realized we have all the pieces to do something special when we put the extra work in and have been able to lay down the foundation for this season and what we have accomplished."
When Mike Stoops was fired, Baucus was one of the players on the team to make a pledge to never let that happen again under his watch.
"We knew the season wasn’t going the way we wanted to and we didn’t want it to happen again obviously with Coach Stoops leaving," he said.
"We knew we could all play, we just had to figure out a way to put it all together. It’s been working and getting to that level where we could go out every Saturday and put it together without any hiccups."
Baucus has now started 51 games at Arizona and downplays what is one of the more impressive statistics in school history.
"Back in the day I would have liked to hope I could play that many games and it has never been a big goal," Baucus said. "I just want to go out there and play and be there for my team.
"I have been blessed not to have any injuries. We have a lot of guys that are better than myself and they get a freak injury and you miss a whole season. I think part of it is luck, but it is definitely special to play your whole career without missing a game."
The seniors' legacy will not be set until after the Fiesta Bowl but Baucus has a good idea of what he would like it to be.
"I guess after this game we will know more, but I want people to remember us as a bunch of tough, hard nosed guys that didn’t have all the talent in the world, but worked extremely hard and were able to do something special as a group together," he said.
"We fought for each other and didn't listen to what other people said about us and were able to overcome adversity and be where we’re at."
In order to cement that legacy, Baucus knows that Arizona must defeat a difficult Boise State team.
"They are just a bunch of tough, hard nosed football players," he said. "I think in a lot of respects they are a lot like us. Not everybody wanted them out of high school, but they know they can play ball regardless.
"They are going to come and they are going to hit you in your mouth and they are all high motor guys. You can’t take a play off because they will embarrass you.
"They all play with great pad level and are explosive off the ball. Once you engage a block, they are great at shedding blocks. Everything you want in a defensive lineman, they’ve got. We’re going to have to be very disciplined in our technique and assignments to be able to counter that."