Wildcats report (11.23): Wade regains starting job
By Anthony Gimino
TUCSON -- Junior cornerback Trevin Wade will return to the starting lineup against top-ranked Oregon after being benched against USC.
Wade, who began the season as an all-star candidate after earning second-team All-Pac-10 honors in 2009, has struggled for much of the year. The coaches pulled him from the starting lineup in the last game in favor of true freshman Shaquille Richardson, although Wade did play as a reserve.
Secondary coach and co-defensive coordinator Greg Brown said Wade has been very good in practice in the past two weeks.
"He's come out, he's practicing hard, he's into it, going 100 miles an hour. ... He's done a great job," Brown said. "My hat's off to him. His back was to the wall, and he's come out swinging."
Stoops said the plan, as it was in the last game, is to rotate three cornerbacks -- Wade, Richardson and starter Robert Golden.
Arizona was seemingly in control of last year's game against Oregon, leading 31-24 when UA quarterback Nick Foles was intercepted by Talmadge Jackson III at the Ducks 40 with 3:11 left.
From there, Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli seemingly willed the Ducks to victory, leading a 15-play drive that ended with an 8-yard touchdown pass to tight end Ed Dickson with six seconds left.
Masoli hit a third-down touchdown pass to Jeff Maehl at the top of the first overtime and rushed from 1 yard out for the game-winning score at the bottom of the second OT.
Masoli ran for three touchdowns and passed for three scores, so Arizona is happy that he is no longer with the Ducks, although playing against sophomore quarterback Darron Thomas is another big challenge.
Thomas is 19th in the nation in passing efficiency (152.04 rating), and has 26 touchdown passes, with only seven interceptions. He has rushed for 434 yards.
"This guy is a better thrower, a more consistent thrower," Stoops said. "Jeremiah might have been a more physical style of runner. This guy is probably more elusive speed-wise."
Brown was asked about how to stop the Oregon offense, which ranks first in the country in scoring at 50.7 points per game. "Thirteen guys," Brown joked. "We've got a special petition into the NCAA to see if they'll go for it."