WR Andrae Thurman

2002 Statistics

Coach: John Mackovic
9-14, 2 years
2002 Record: 4-8
UTAH WON 23-17
at Wisconsin LOST 10-31
at Washington LOST 28-32
at Stanford LOST 6-16
at Oregon State LOST 3-38
at California WON 52-41

2002 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2003 Outlook

The 2003 season could not possibly be as turbulent as the 2002 campaign. In the midst of another disappointing sub-.500 finish - this one at 4-8 (1-7 in the Pac-10) - 'Zona fans also had to deal with a player revolt against head coach John Mackovic's dictatorial style. The coach blamed the mutiny on "outside influences," including parents, assistant coaches, and a former UA head coach - although no names were named

After the Wildcats made it through spring practice without major controversy - aside from the still-uncertain status of Clarence Farmer and a complete reconfiguring of the coaching staff - Mackovic's seat seems to have cooled, although another losing season would dangerously strain the already-limited patience of boosters and fans, as well as A.D. Jim Livengood. This season will go a long way toward showing whether that was a one-time occurrence or an unfortunate trend.

The schedule offers no breaks. In addition to the always-tough Pac-10 slate - which includes road trips to face Washington State, Oregon State, and rival Arizona State - the non-conference schedule is one of the most challenging in the Pac-10. The Wildcats will host LSU and TCU, and also take a trip to West Lafayette to face a tough Purdue team.

Even without further player unrest, the multiple questions on offense, defense, and in the coaching staff augur another disappointing year for Wildcat faithful - at least until October, when Lute Olsen and the basketball 'Cats begin practice. That schedule is down right ugly with no room to breath on any given weekend.

Projected 2003 record: 3-9
LB Joe Siofele
OT Chris Johnson
SS Lamon Means
DE Paul Phillip
QB - 3 DL - 1.5
RB - 3.5 LB - 1.5
WR - 2.5 DB - 3.5
OL - 2 ..

Passing: Nic Costa, 19-7-1, 150 yds., 1 TD

Rushing: Mike Bell, 106 att., 341 yds., 1 TD

Receiving: Andrae Thurman, 61 rec., 915 yds., 3 TD

Scoring: Bobby Gill, 7-11 FG, 17-17 PAT, 38 pts.

Punting: Danny Baugher, 38 punts, 37.7 avg.

Kicking: Bobby Gill, 7-11 FG, 17-17 PAT, 38 pts.

Tackles: Joe Siofele, 66 tot., 41 solo

Sacks: Copeland Bryan, 7.5 sacks

Interceptions: none

Kickoff returns: Gary Love, 7 ret., 18.7 avg.

Punt returns: Andrae Thurman, 2 ret., 20.5 avg.


OFFENSE: Jason Johnson-QB, Bobby Wade-WR, Makoa Freitas-OL, James Hugo-TE, Sean Keel-K
DEFENSE: Young Thompson-DT, Lance Briggs-LB, Spencer Larsen-LB, Ray Wells-LB, David Hinton-CB, Jarvie Worcester-FS

written by Collin Mickle

Arizona is a team that will have to reinvent itself in 2003. After focusing on the pass, the Wildcats must start over at quarterback. Sophomore Nic Costa takes over for departed senior Jason Johnson. Arizona does return its top three rushers, led by sophomore Mike Bell (341 yards as a redshirt freshman).

Bell and the other tailbacks will be expected to pick up most of the slack while Costa adjusts to the starting job. If the run game can provide any kind of positive impact, it will be a welcome change for UA - last in the Pac-10 in rushing at an almost-unbelievable 43.8 yards per game.

Although Arizona's spread attack puts a premium on short passes to replace the traditional run game, the ground attack should not be completely abandoned. It is up to Bell and his position mates - particularly sophomore backups Beau Carr and Gainus Scott - to ensure that defenses cannot predict the play-call.

The run-game woes could be easily solved by the return of senior tailback Clarence Farmer, who led the Pac-10 in rushing in 2001 but missed most of '02 (knee injury). Farmer did not participate in spring drills, telling the media he had been suspended. According to notoriously tough head coach John Mackovic, Farmer has "academic issues" to resolve. Farmer is not expected to return to the team, although he has not been released from his scholarship at Arizona and is not rumored to be considering a transfer. Any changes will be updated here.

With Farmer's return unlikely, the key to improving that suspect ground attack will be up front. The offensive line, which lost only one starter, should be vastly improved. This would be a welcome change for the UA offense, which was hamstrung by its one-dimensional qualities throughout 2002. The line will be youthful - only one senior, right tackle Brandon Phillips, is projected as a starter - but the talent level should be increased. Redshirt freshman John Parada, who enters the fall as a possible starter up front, could be a mainstay at the position for the next three seasons.

Bobby Wade, a fifth-round pick (Chicago) in April's NFL draft, finished his career in Tucson with the career and single-season receiving records previously held by Wildcat All-American Dennis Northcut. Arizona's second-leading receiver last season, senior Andrae Thurman, will be asked to step into Wade's sizeable shoes on offense as well as on special teams. Thurman, who benefited from opponents' constant double-teaming of Wade last season (61 catches) will have a tough adjustment as the first option on most plays.

Senior Lance Relford and Thurman have field-stretching speed, which could open up the middle of the field for tight end Steve Fleming, another new starter. Fleming is a sizeable target (6-6, 250) and could be a dangerous weapon if he can get open.

Delivering the ball to this inexperienced corps of pass-catchers will be the task of Costa, who saw limited action as Johnson's backup last season. Costa played well in those brief opportunities as a redshirt freshman, but will have a hard time matching the production of Johnson, a two-year starter with a strong arm and an excellent grasp of now-departed offensive coordinator Rick Dyke's spread offense. New offense, new QB, new results. Better or worse will be seen come season.


QB Nic Costa


Returning Starters in bold
QB Nic Costa-So (5-11, 200) Ryan O'Hara-Fr (6-5, 200)
FB Gilbert Harris-So (6-1, 215) Sean Jones-So (5-11, 230)
HB Mike Bell-So (6-0, 210) Gainus Scott-So / Clarence Farmer-Sr (susp.)
WR Andrae Thurman-Sr (6-0, 185) Ricky Williams-So (6-3, 210)
WR Lance Relford-Sr (6-0, 200) Biren Ealy-So (6-2, 175)
TE Matt Padron-Fr (6-5, 259) Steve Fleming-Jr (6-6, 250)
OT Tanner Bell-So (6-8, 324) Chris Johnson-Jr (6-3, 295)
OG Reggie Sampay-Sr (6-3, 295) ..
C Keoki Fraser-Jr (6-3, 300) ..
OG Kili Lefotu-So (6-5, 298) Kieth Jackson-Fr (6-5, 312)
OT Brandon Phillips-Sr (6-8, 330) John Parada-So (6-8, 326)
K Bobby Gill-Jr (5-11, 190) Nicholas Folk-Fr (6-1, 180)



written by Collin Mickle

Five starters return to 2002's eighth-ranked total defense in the Pac-10. The most notable departure was that of middle linebacker Lance Briggs, the team's leading tackler, a first-team All-Conference selection, and a third-round choice (Chicago) in April's NFL draft.

Under new defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz, the Wildcats are switching to a 3-4 defense after playing a 4-3. The double-eagle flex is a thing of the past. Three down linemen and four linebackers will be installed instead of having a whip linebacker who revolved between a defensive end to a linebacker. All three projected starting defensive linemen saw action at DT. Junior Carlos Williams and sophomore Brad Brittain will enter fall practice as the starters at end, while 300-pound junior Vince Feula seems tailor-made to the challenging noseguard role.

Senior inside linebacker Joe Siofele is a main key to any improvement. Siofele managed 5.5 sacks playing end, and was third on the squad with 66 tackles. With the transition to a 3-4 look, Siofele will be playing in space more, putting his excellent speed to better use while sparing his 260-pound frame some of the pounding that he absorbed on the line.

On the outside, sophomores Copeland Bryant (team sack leader) and Marcus Smith earned starting nods with strong performances in the spring. Junior Pat Howard was the favorite to start at the other inside linebacker position before undergoing minor surgery on his right shoulder near the conclusion of spring practice. Howard is expected to miss most of fall preseason practice, but should be ready for the start of the season. If Howard's rehab is slow, scrappy junior Kirk Johnson could step into the lineup.

The defensive backfield, which helped the 'Cats finish in the top third of the Pac Ten in passing defense, must replace two starters. The newbies make the secondary more talented than the '02 model. Sophomore Darrell Brooks, who spent 2002 at cornerback, will begin the fall as the starter at free safety. A pair of seniors, Gary Love and Michael Jolivette, will start on the corners. Before injuring his knee last September, Jolivette was an All-Conference candidate who had started 24 consecutive games with 10 career interceptions and usually took on single coverage. Speedy sophomore Lamon Means will get a look at one of the safety spots, but could see corner time if weaknesses arise there.

Even with Briggs, and departed outside linebacker Ray Wells, the Wildcats finished last in the Pac-10 in rushing defense, allowing 161.8 yards per game. The key to improving that statistic - and improving on 'Zona's 4-8 finish - starts with the defensive line.


CB Michael Jolivette


Returning Starters in bold
DE Carlos Williams-Jr (6-5, 291) Tim Volk-Fr (6-2, 265)
NT Vince Feula-Jr (6-0, 300) Carl Tuitavuki-Sr (6-3, 334)
DE Brad Brittain-So (6-5, 285) Fata Avegalio-Jr (6-3, 255)
OLB Copeland Bryan-So (6-4, 235) Marcus Smith-So (6-5, 225)
LB Joe Siofele-Sr (6-2, 260) John McKinney-Fr (6-0, 220)
LB Patrick Howard-Jr (5-11, 225) Kirk Johnson-Jr (5-11, 220)
OLB Andre Torrey-Jr (6-4, 250) Matt Molina-Sr (6-2, 240)
CB Gary Love-Sr (5-10, 180) Luis Nunez-Jr (5-11, 190)
CB Michael Jolivette-Sr (5-10, 185) Jason Martin-So (5-10, 175)
SS Clay Hardt-Sr (6-2, 200) Tony Wingate-Jr (6-1, 200)
FS Darrell Brooks-So (6-0, 192) Lamon Means-So (6-3, 190)
P Danny Baugher-So (5-10, 185) James Molina-Sr (5-11, 195)




With the exception of Wade - who was 'Zona's punt and kick returner - all the major players return on special teams. Placekicker Bobby Gill, who split time with Sean Keel in 2002, will take over full-time kicking duties. Gill was 7-of-11 in '02, but three of his misses came from outside 44 yards.

Sophomore punter Danny Baugher had a forgettable freshman season, finishing last in the conference among players with enough attempts to qualify. Baugher will need to improve - a 37.7 yard average again could mean senior James Molina seize his opportunity.

The coverage teams were a trouble spot, and with no better depth - and, in some cases, worse - coverage should continue to be a problem, especially in the early going. Thurman will step into Wade's shoes on returns. Although he is not the breakaway threat Wade was, Thurman is a solid option and should help offset the other problems on special teams. Decent field position will do, nothing risky should be tried.