We have reached 99 days until the Arizona Wildcats kick off their 2018 season under new coach Kevin Sumlin.
When Arizona hosts BYU on Sept. 1, it will mark the 40th anniversary since the Wildcats joined the Pac-12 (went from the Pac-8 to the Pac-10 then).
To get ready for the upcoming season, All Sports Tucson offers another countdown, which will include memories from former Wildcats, history notes and a look ahead to the season. Think of it as a way to keep Arizona football on the mind in the summer months leading up to fall camp in early August and then kickoff against the Cougars marking the start of the Sumlin Era.
A look back
With it being the 99th day ’til kickoff, the best player to wear No. 99 for Arizona? That would be defensive tackle Dana Wells, who starred for Arizona from 1985-88. He was a two-time winner of Pac-10′s Morris Trophy, signifying the league’s best defensive lineman, as voted by the conference’s offensive linemen.
The longest play from scrimmage in Arizona history was a 99-yard pass from Jason Johnson to Brandon Marshall against Idaho on Sept. 8, 2001. It was a catch-and-run play set up by an interception by Michael Jolivette.
A look ahead
Wearing No. 99 for Arizona this season is redshirt senior defensive tackle Dereck Boles, formerly of Boise State. Last year, in his first season with the Wildcats after transferring from Coffeyville (Kansas) Junior College, Boles played in all 13 games and totaled 42 tackles, including 1.5 for loss.
They said it
Sumlin returned to Houston — where he was head coach from 2008 to 2011 — this week to attend a Touchdown Club of Houston luncheon. The topic of his time at Houston of course came up with reporters. He will coach Arizona against his former team in Houston on Sept. 8.
Some of the Houston fan base has been slow to forgive Sumlin for leaving Houston for Texas A&M in 2012 following a 2011 run that ended one win shy of a spot in the Bowl Championship Series. Here’s what Sumlin had to say in a lighthearted manner, as noted by the Houston Chronicle:
“Coming back there will be interesting, I’ll put it that way. We’ll see what happens, because the last time I left was a little bit different feeling around here. They say time heals all wounds. We’ll see. Somehow I don’t think time has healed this wound. … They (some Houston fans) keep saying I’m No. 1 … I’m not sure which finger it is.”