The Arizona football team begins its 2013 season against Northern Arizona at Arizona Stadium on Aug. 30, which is 99 days away. From now until then, this Web site will count down the days with facts about the Wildcats, their players, coaching staff and opponents. This is not a ranking, only a list of 100 facts and observances related to the 2013 Arizona football team and coach Rich Rodriguez.
On to Day 99 on our countdown. …
The Wildcats had 18 players who redshirted last season, highlighted by wide receiver Trey Griffey, son of former major-league baseball star Ken Griffey Jr. Arizona fans will finally get to watch the younger Griffey perform, especially with leading receiver Austin Hill perhaps out the whole season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Here is a list of the 18 redshirts who will be eligible to play in the fall: QB Javelle Allen, WR Jarrell Bennett, OL Beau Boyster, LB Vaughn Brinkman, S Clint Cochrane, WR Clive Georges, WR Trey Griffey, OL T.D. Gross, OL Zach Hemmila, QB Nick Isham, DL Kyle Kelley, TE Josh Kern, DL Dwight Melvin, QB Jack Nykaza, S Yamen Sanders, S Zach Streuling, and CB Shane Wilson.
“I think we played half of the freshmen and redshirted the other half,” UA coach Rich Rodriguez said of his first Arizona recruiting class before the 2012 season. “I’ve told them all, their redshirt year is over. Now is their time to show they can play and prove themselves.
“I don’t want guys talking about it; I want them showing it. Our strength staff came up with a neat saying on a shirt, it says ‘Shut up and work’. That’s perfect in its simplicity. That’s what we want our guys to do. And they’ve been working pretty hard.”
Griffey must compete for playing time with returners Tyler Slavin, David Richards and Terrence Miller. Notre Dame transfer Davonte Neal may also be on the depth chart if the NCAA allows him to play without sitting out a year. With wide receiver Dan Buckner exhausting his eligibility and Hill out at the slot position, that leaves two spots up for grabs.
— My favorite to wear No. 99 for Arizona in my lifetime is Stan Mataele. Dana Wells, a noseguard, also wore No. 99 and he was the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year in 1987. Mataele played before Wells and was a beast without all the accolades. Mataele’s biggest play was jarring the ball loose from ASU quarterback Jeff Van Raaphorst, setting up Max Zendejas’ game-winning 32-yard field goal in Arizona’s 16-13 win over the Sun Devils in 1985 at Sun Devil Stadium.
WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes blogs for Lindy’s College Sports, TucsonCitizen.com and Sports Illustrated-sponsored site ZonaZealots.com.