The Arizona football team begins its 2013 season against Northern Arizona at Arizona Stadium on Aug. 30, which is 74 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.
Of all the 175 offensive linemen selected All-Pac-10/12 first-team since Arizona and ASU joined the conference in 1978 only two — Glenn Parker and Eben Britton — are offensive tackles from Arizona.
The noticeable omission at that position is John Fina, a first-round NFL draft pick by the Buffalo Bills in 1992 and 2002 inductee into the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame.
Fina was an unfortunate victim of Arizona’s 4-7 record in 1991, the Wildcats’ first losing season in 11 years. He was also stacked against quality competition.
The entire All-Pac-10 offensive linemen selections in 1991 were offensive tackles. No guards or centers were chosen. The list: Cal’s Troy Auzenne, Washington’s Lincoln Kennedy, UCLA’s Vaughn Parker, Stanford’s Bob Whitfield and USC’s Tony Boselli.
Auzenne was selected in the second round of the NFL draft in 1992 but he was a first-team All-American. Kennedy won the first of two Morris Trophy Awards (given to the conference’s top linemen) in 1991. Vaughn Parker, a sophomore in 1991, became a three-time All-Pac-10 selection, only the second UCLA offensive player to achieve that feat.
Boselli was only a freshman that year and USC went 3-8. He later became a three-time All-American and Morris Trophy winner. But as a freshman on a team with a worse record than Arizona in 1991, Boselli should have been a second-team selection, not Fina. Boselli was the first freshman offensive lineman chosen to the first team.
The coaches who selected the team that season took raw talent over a proven senior.
A first-team selection would have enhanced Fina’s chance for a spot on this site’s Arizona All-Pac-10/12 team. Glenn Parker and Britton get that honor. Parker was a first-team selection in 1989 and Britton earned the selection in 2008. Britton is the only UA offensive tackle to be a first- and second-team selection. He was also an honorable-mention selection.
The all-time All-Pac-10/12 selection on this site is based on a points system — three points for a first-team selection, two points for second team, one for honorable mention and three points for each player of the year honor (i.e. Morris Trophy). It rewards sustained success and high honors.
Parker had only two years to achieve honors at Arizona after attending Golden West Junior College in Huntington Beach, Calif. As a senior in 1989, he was an All-Pac-10 choice and second-team All-American.
He played 12 years in the NFL and participated in five Super Bowls, one of only two Wildcats (Tedy Bruschi is the other) to achieve that feat.
Parker, now an analyst with the Pac-12 Networks, did not play high school football. He chose Arizona over USC and Oregon out of Golden West.
“It was great (not playing in high school),” Parker told the Arizona Daily Wildcat in 2007. “In high school, I was into going to the beach and just doing other things. I was your typical geek. I was athletic, but I was into reading books and learning history.
ARIZONA’S TOP OFFENSIVE TACKLES (RANKED IN ORDER)
|“I was in JC, and I didn’t know where I was headed in my life. A friend and I were playing basketball and a coach saw us, and I told him, ‘I want to play for you.’ And he said, ‘All right, you’re my new tackle.’ I was lucky that he was there to take me under his wing and teach me football. It’s weird if you’ve never played. I didn’t even know how to put the pads on. I didn’t know how to get in the stance. Once I found out I was playing tackle I started studying tackles and seeing how they move and tried to copy them.|
“Next thing you know I was playing well and getting scholarship offers. I was always very athletic, but the hardest part about football is understanding the pain of getting hit. The first time I got hit I just wanted to lay on the couch. I was like, ‘Oh, forget this, I’m done. I’m finished with football.'”
Fortunately for Arizona and Parker’s standing in college and NFL football history, Parker stayed off the couch.
With this being Day No. 74 in our 100 Days Until Kickoff 2013 series, it is appropriate to note that Parker is the best No. 74 to wear the Arizona uniform.
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.