Let me preface this first edition of the Bakers Dozen by saying a few things. First, I am an ASU educated redneck Irishman that no longer drinks alcohol so my already tweaked mind has gotten far worse. There will be nuggets of information in the Bakers Dozen that is premium in nature and there will be things that just popped into my head out of nowhere. We have decided to make this weekly walk through the mush I call a brain premium because let's face it, if you want to go to the circus you have to pay admission.
UNO-- Jarrell Barbour's decision to de-commit from Arizona and commit to ASU came as a little bit of a surprise to many, except me. A couple months ago there were very strong indications that he was going to commit to the Wildcats but hour after hour and day after day went by and nothing happened. When he finally did pull the trigger for the Cats it made me wonder why he waited for so long. Now that he switched his commitment to ASU there are numerous reasons and possibilities and rumors that are popping up on message boards. Everything from grades to family to offensive systems have been discussed and the truth is they are all correct in their own way. Does Barbour have academics to consider? Yes. Does he want to be as close to his family as he can? Yes. Is the offensive system at ASU more condusive to a wide receiver? Eh, self interpretation needed. The fact is this is recruiting and stuff like this happens all the time. He went from being a Wildcat to being a Sun Devil, Wildcat fans will have to live with it and Devil fans have something to crow about…for now.
DOS-- Brandyn McCall recently went public with the fact that he decided to give up football due to his lingering back problems. I wanted to take this opportunity to give Brandyn a big attaboy and salute for sticking to this football thing for as long as he did. The truth is Brandyn played in a huge amount of pain and nobody should question his work ethic or character. He stuck it out for as long as he humanly could, which is about 100 times longer than any of us would have. Kudos to you Brandyn for being a real football player, and a special attaboy for sticking with the program and helping coach the other tight ends while you finish your degree.
TRES-- I was talking recently with someone who had attended a practice or two during fall camp and the quarterback situation came up. This person, who for national security reasons shall never be ‘outted', said that, right now at least, Tyler Lyon is quickly looking like the second coming of, ahem, Ryan O'Hara. I don't know if I agree because my personal jury on Lyon is still out, but if this Frodoesque opinion is even half correct, get ready for back to back Polynesian quarterbacks. Bryson Beirne better be ready because with Heavner gone after this year, bra it could be your team when Sir William is done.
CUATRO-- The difference between Louis Holmes 2006 and Louis Holmes 2007 so far is attitude. Holmes himself will tell you that he just did not have a great attitude last year and his play suffered because of it. So far this year he is approaching everything differently and his play through fall camp showed that. From film sessions to individual workouts, Holmes is a different and better player and teammate. Scuffles with fellow Pac-10 football players aside, Holmes is different right now. He seems like he is back to the Louis all of us recruiting nerds got to know during his process. Lets all hope and pray the change is permanent because the Cats need him to have a big year and if he wants to be Tucson's next millionaire he needs that huge year too.
CINCO-- If anyone is wondering who the busiest person at McKale is during this time of year I will tell you. No it isn't Mike Stoops or Mark Stoops or Sonny Dykes or Dave Rubio or even the sainted Lute Olson. The busiest person at McKale this time of year is Mike Stoops' administrative assistant Kelly Hooker. Good Lord does that woman have work to do. Between juggling the big dog's schedule and answering the many insane emails the big fella gets, she is the glue that allows the football offices to operate. So when the Wildcats get to their first bowl game since 1998 this year you can all thank Mike and Mark and Sonny and Willie and Antoine and Louis and Spencer all you want but I know I will be thanking Miss Kelly.
SEIS-- Thanks to rules changes and Nick Folk's graduation you can most likely look forward to seeing more starters being used on special team coverage units this fall. Since the college kickers will now be kicking off from the 30 rather than the 35 every kick will be shorter. And with Folk's graduation to the Dallas Cowboys you can expect them to be a little shorter even. We all got spoiled watching Nick kick the ball through the endzone 99% of the time so now with him being gone and the rule change we, as fans, must stay patient and let Arizona's special teams guru Joe Robinson work and groom his units. The process is going to be hard to stomach, especially for a special team nut like me, but we have to stay patient.
SIETE-- I just have to state my opinion on something and I saved it for number seven because Mike Vick will never again don that number, at least one can pray. Vick is a sick individual and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would be doing everyone a favor by banning Vick for life. Of course he won't thank to the sheer amount of PC around but he needs to. WI.com Editor Brad Allis think he will be back in the league within two year playing wide receiver but I hope not. Vick needs to just go away. No more apologies through his attorney, just please go away and stay away. You used to pimp for NIKE Mike so live by their motto and Just Do It.
OCHO-- Two names you need to get used to hearing for this fall. Corey Hall and Cam Nelson. Both of these young defensive backs from Texas have been impressive and both will see the field. Nelson has the strong safety spot all but locked up and Hall will play anywhere he is needed.
NUEVE-- The recent donation of 3.5 million bones to the University by New Jersey Nets superstar Richard Jefferson should come as no surprise. Jefferson has always been very proud of where he came from and he has always been first to say that the Arizona program helped make him the man and the player he is today. My only question is this…where are these types of donations on the football side? The UA football program has had many success stories in the NFL and many of them are very proud of where they went to school. Lance Briggs, Tedy Bruschi, Antonio Pierce, Edwin Mulitalo and many other former Cats don NFL jersies these days and many of them are making millions. Many former players have stepped to the plate through the years to give back to the University, guys like Donnie Salum have given more than their fair share back to the University so why is the current crop of NFL Cats holding back the loot?
DIEZ-- Straight up opinion again but I think the Wildcats will go 8-4 this regular season with the new offense averaging around 26 points a game with the defense allowing around 18 a game. Its just my opinion but I think its gonna happen and since I don't drink ridiculous amounts of alcohol anymore, it could actually happen. Mark it down, 8-4.
ONCE-- When the offensive coaching staff was turned over this off season I was wondering if the new offensive line coach would be as loud and as in your face as former UA line coach Eric Wolford. My question was quickly answered and that answer is a resounding yes. New line coach Bill Bedenbaugh could actually be louder and more boisterous than Wolford was. The dude can flat out coach and his yelling exploits are even more impressive.
DOSE-- This year's linebacking corps is the deepest and most experienced unit that the Wildcats have maybe ever had. With two seniors and a junior in the starting lineup and backups like Adrian McCovy, Xavier Kelley and Cole Graybill the unit is going to be especially fun to watch this year. Everyone knows about Larsen at the WILL spot and everyone is impressed by Palmer at the MIKE spot but my favorite is Krogstad over at the SAM spot. Linebackers coach Tim Kish has done a masterful job of shaping his unit into one of the best in not only the conference, but possibly the nation.
TRESE-- Since this is the last entry in the initial Bonney's Bakers Dozen I must admit that I suffer from Triskaidekaphobia. How I allowed myself to be talked into doing a column with 13 entries every week I do not know. My fear of the of the number 13 is so profound and is so annoying that it literally bothers me to leave a volume level on my radio or television on that number. I NEVER watch a channel that is on that number on the dial and if a Wildcat game happens to be on that channel you better be giving me updates because I aint watching it with you. Gary Randazzo, our creative Basketball Editor, should be blamed for talking me into this and now I am going to follow the advice my friends have been telling me for years, I am going to seek the therapy I so very much need. You think Gary can talk the Mrs. Into picking up the bill?