Brittain glad to be back in the fold

One of the most important acquisitions of the 2004 recruiting haul was a player who had already signed with Arizona once. Brad Brittain has returned to the fold and will instantly give the Wildcats experience and depth along the defensive front, something the team desperately needed last year.

Brittain was fighting for a starting spot in fall camp when he was suddenly suspended for the team. Due to privacy laws the exact nature of the suspension have never been made public, but the defensive lineman was done for the year and his future at Arizona was very much in doubt.

Brittain weighed his options and opted to move up to Phoenix and play for Mesa Community College.

"There were some team policies that I violated and I was suspended from the team," Brittain said. "It was either stick around and stay in school or pursue my career as a college football player. I wasn't about to sit around."

Brittain had a solid year with the Thunderbirds. He was named All-Conference and made a few JC All-Region and All-American Teams. His coach at Mesa, Dan Dunn, called him one of the best players to come through the program, which has sent a handful of players to the NFL.

Although he had a great season, it wasn't easy for a player who had played Division-I football to drop down and play in front of small crowds on the JC circuit.

"The competition level was different," Brittain admitted. "It was difficult at times to stay intense and to stay focused on my training and my game. It was a good experience in becoming responsible." Brittain had always wanted to come back to Arizona, but wasn't sure it was in the cards. He was looking at schools like Nevada and New Mexico when an old friend from Arizona paved the way for his return.

Brittain had just taken a visit to New Mexico when Mike Stoops called. It turns out recruiting coordinator Dan Berezowitz, a holdover from the Mackovic staff, told Stoops about Brittain and the new coach quickly made it apparent that he would be welcomed back to the fold. "I definitely enjoyed being a Wildcat before and wanted the chance to possibly make it back one day," Brittain confessed. "Up in Mesa I wasn't putting all my eggs in one basket, I was just trying to do what I had to do and become the best player I could be."

Brittain has come to camp in great shape. He is bigger and stronger than he was a year ago at this time and according to those around the team he has come back with an even better attitude. He took care of his business while up in Mesa and now knows what has to be done at Arizona.

"It feels good to be back in town," Brittain said. "I'm living in the same house I was before, living with some teammates. John Abramo is my roommate. Schools coming along well. I know how to register, I know where things are. It feels really good."

Now it comes down to the business of football. Brittain joins a group of defensive tackles that have a lot to prove. He, Carlos Williams, Paul Phillip and Cliff Stanford have a lot of experience and Cedric Cofer is back from an injury that forced him to redshirt last season. The group has been maligned the past two years and know they must step it up if the defense is to improve over last year's showing.

"We're just trying to get better as a group," Brittain said. "As nose tackles and D-tackles, we're just trying to get better as a group. We're not really worried about who's going first, second, third, it doesn't matter. I was rotating with all of the different groups today and it felt good to be our there."

Brittain has brought his new attitude to a team that has a new attitude. Things are a lot different with the new coaches and Brittain likes what he saw after the first day.

"It was really intense, but it was a confident intensity," Brittain explained. "I felt it was similar to my high school coach."

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