Devaughn Cooper only played three games last season, but the redshirt freshman admits that the small amount of time on the field is already making a difference in spring ball.
“Being involved last year has helped me a lot,” Cooper said. “When I first got to Arizona I really had a hard time picking up the basic parts of the playbook and because I played in a few games last year, I can now apply a lot of that stuff to what I’m doing in the spring.”
While Arizona announced the hiring of Threon Aych on Saturday, Rich Rodriguez had been coaching the wide receivers in the interim and Cooper feels that his presence has helped him better understand the position better from a fundamental perspective.
“Working with him has made me realize so many more things,” he said. “Everything from the playbook to a lot of fundamental stuff that I hadn’t received much of from the coaches last year.
“He just wants me to think about things a little deeper and execute plays to the best of my ability.”
Veteran leadership within the wide receiver position last season has been crucial to Cooper’s development.
“Just seeing how hard guys like Nate, Samajie and Trey worked in practice made me realize what it takes to play,”Cooper said. “They told me all the time last year that I could have worked a little bit harder than I did.
“I’ve taken that advice and I’m using it to my best advantage. I’m giving it my all every single day.”
Regarded as one of the fastest wideouts on the roster, Cooper envisions his style of play as a building point for improvement this spring.
"I see myself as an explosive after that catch kind of guy, but making plays is priority number one,” Cooper said. “No one is going to be flashy out there because we are all going to do what it takes to win.
“Everybody is just trying to work harder than we did last year. It’s tough when you have a season like that. A lot of guys weren’t putting in good effort each day and we can’t do that again. We all have to give everything to win."