O'Hara to focus on football after Thursday

It has been an interesting 2003 for Ryan O'Hara. He entered the 2003 season as one of two Wildcat passers competing for the starting quarterback job, but within a month he was demoted to third string. Over the past two months he has seen more time at wide receiver and small forward than he has at quarterback.

Ryan O'Hara has played the past month with the Wildcat basketball team. He came in to give the Cats more practice depth inside after Isaiah Fox went down. Although his presence has not been felt in games, he has done a great job for the Wildcats in practice.

"He picks things up quickly, probably due to his quarterback background because he's used to knowing what everyone else has to do too," Arizona men's basketball coach Lute Olson said. "He's done a nice job. " Although he is having the time of his life, O'Hara's basketball career, at least for this year, is coming to a close. He'll play against Cal, but after that his attention again goes back to football.

"This will be my last game against Cal-Berkeley," O'Hara said. "Then I'm going back to the team and start lifting again. I can't wait for the spring." O'Hara will get into a new workout plan and start thinking about spring drills. All indications are that there will be a four-man battle for the starting quarterback job and O'Hara wants to make sure that he gives it his all.

Although he played wide receiver at the end of the season O'Hara insists he wants to remain at quarterback.

"I worked too hard to give up on quarterback now," O'Hara said.

Now he has to get ready for new coaches and a new system, at least a slightly different system. O'Hara watched the Oklahoma/LSU and now has a basic grasp on what they may be trying to do,

"I think we'll be an almost replica," O'Hara said "Just the spread like we were at the end of the season. Shotgun, a lot of shotgun. Single backs, four wideouts or three wideouts and a tight end. I think we'll be pretty similar."

O'Hara likes the idea of the spread. He feels that the shotgun suits his style and he is very comfortable lining up a few yards behind center.

"I like working out of the gun because you are looking at it from a different perspective," O'Hara said. "You can see more. When you are up under center sometimes you can't see what the linebackers are doing, but you can see them better when you take a few steps back."

Like most who watched the Sugar Bowl, O'Hara feels that college football needs to change the way it selects a national champion. As a player who saw both USC and LSU up close he wasn't ready to choose one over the other, but he does see the need to make some big changes.

"I think we need to have a clear cut champion, none of this co-champion stuff," said O'Hara. "We need a playoff system like basketball, but it would be hard because football is a lot harder on your body."

His time around the basketball team has been a great experience. Not only does he get to play a second sport, but he gets to be around a team that is not only used to winning, but expects it. His new coach, for one, likes that fact.

"I want my guys to hang around the basketball team," Stoops said. "I want my players to be around all the winning programs at the school."

O'Hara has played in five games, grabbing just one rebound in nine total minutes of action. He missed his lone shot attempt, but to his credit he passed up a number of shots to make a pass to a player with a better look.

Many speculate that one or two of the quarterbacks could transfer if things don't go well in the spring. Although he wants to be a quarterback, O'Hara wants to be a Wildcat more.

"I know I'm not going anywhere," O'Hara stated adamantly. "I love it here."

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