TUCSON, Ariz. — Tight end Michael Cooper has left the Arizona football program. It’s not clear if Cooper, a junior, will transfer to another school or stay at UA and continue as a student.
“Coop is exploring his options,” Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said after Tuesday morning’s practice. “He’s a great young man, a good student. In whatever he wants to do we will wish him the best.”
Senior Terrence Miller and freshman Josh Kern will continue to work at the tight end position.
In an interview with FoxsportsArizona.com last month, Cooper, from The Woodlands, Texas, said he was hoping to contribute more after a season in which the tight ends were not a part of hte offense.
“My biggest goal is to be able to play. Our offense is up tempo, and we want to keep the same guys on the field,” he said. “My biggest goal is to be the kind of guy my coaches want me to be, whatever that is. I’d like to play as much as possible, whether that be blocking, going after passes or doing whatever. It’s whatever I can do.”
Before camp started, his brother Perry transferred from Nevada-Las Vegas to Wayne State. GOOD MORNING, ARIZONA!
Rodriguez was active and vocal to begin Tuesday morning’s practice. Some thought he might have been in a bad mood after a late-night practice on Monday. But that wasn’t the case. Rodriguez said he came in fired up because he wanted the players motivated from the start.
“We had to get on them early to get them cranked up,” Rodriguez said. “But once we got them cranked up the intensity was better after the sixth or seventh period.”
Rodriguez had already decided the team was not going to practice on Tuesday night, instead using the time to start looking at Northern Arizona schemes in a walk-through.
For the last few months, Rodriguez said as many as 14 freshmen could play at various times this season. He continues to say they’ve done a good job handling practices. Could it be even more than 14?
Rodriguez said he’s still not sure, but the next couple of days will be spent trying to make the determination of who will redshirt.
“We don’t have to make that decision now, but I do feel a bunch will help,” he said.
Junior offensive lineman Mickey Baucus sat out the practice in a protective boot because he had a sore ankle. Senior guard Chris Putton moved over and played in Baucus’ tackle position.
Rodriguez said many of the offensive linemen will have to play multiple positions. Putton is one of those guys. He’s also seen time at center.