We now stand at 78 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) and also the 20th anniversary of the 1998 team with the best record in school history, 12-1, and the 25th anniversary of the 1993 team that went 10-2 with a win over Miami in the Fiesta Bowl.
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.
To catch up on the countdown click on this: Arizona Wildcats 2018 countdown to kickoff.
A look back
— With it being the 78th day until kickoff, the best player to wear No. 78 for Arizona? That would be the offensive tackle Rob Woods, who played with Arizona from 1986-88. He was a late bloomer who ended up as a fourth-round pick in 1989 NFL draft by Cincinnati. He didn’t get a chance to play in the NFL until 1991 with Cleveland and participated in two games.
A look ahead
College football analyst Phil Steele projects Arizona to play in the Cactus Bowl in Phoenix against Iowa State. Would that be a disappointment or an understandable development considering Arizona’s tumultuous offseason and adapting to a new coaching staff?
Phil Steele’s 2018 College Football Bowl Projections
Orange—UW vs Alabama
Fiesta—Texas vs Boise St
Alamo—TCU vs Stanford
Holiday—USC vs Iowa
San Francisco—Oregon vs Minnesota
Sun—Utah vs Louisville
Vegas—Colorado vs Fresno St
Cactus—Arizona vs Iowa St
Hawaii—SDSU vs BYU
Arizona player memories: Glenn Howell
Glenn Howell was a junior college transfer who played tight end for Arizona in 1984 and 1985. You can hear Howell’s analysis during the Arizona pre-game and post-game shows on Wildcat Sports Radio 1290-AM during the football season. He is also an analyst for Fox 11 News.
What is your favorite game?
“LSU in 1984. Great atmosphere (in Baton Rouge, La.). LSU was loaded with talent and so were we. Should’ve won that game. We were driving for winning field goal by Max (Zendejas) and we fumbled.”
Who is your favorite Wildcat?
“Ricky Hunley. He was the reason I came to Arizona. I came to Arizona as an offensive guard and I wanted to block the best linebacker in the country and that was Ricky. Toughest linebacker I ever tried to block.”
What is your favorite play?
“Max Zendejas kicking the winning field goal vs ASWHO in 1983.”
What is your favorite coach memory?
“Larry Smith was an honest man. He came into my house and put the depth chart out on the table and told me, ‘As a JC transfer, there is one spot open for you to start.’ One guard spot is taken by Mike Freeman (who played in three Super Bowls) and the other is going to be won by either me, Charlie Dickey or Curt DiGiacamo. I ended up redshirting my first year playing second string behind Charlie and Mike. Coach Smith told me he wants to get me on the field and he moved me to tight end, where I started for two years. He was always straight with me and that’s why I loved that man.”
What excites you about the 2018 season?
“I am excited about the potential of the development of our players. The calmness that I see at practice is a good change, I believe, for our players. Not as much chaos. The coaches have a history of getting players to the next level. The Pac-12 is usually won with the team that has the best QB and we have ‘potentially’ the best one returning, but he has to develop into a dual threat. Khalil (Tate) has to understand coverages and read better on the zone read. Hppefully that will come with (new offensive coordinator Noel) Mazzone.”