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The progression was swift and, it turns out, unmanageable. At
the start of the 1993 season, Arizona was a good, but largely
anonymous, program with a theme defense (Desert Swarm) and a
fresh face. The Wildcats went 9-2, stunned Miami 29-0 in the
Fiesta Bowl and instantly gained national recognition.

In '94, the Wildcats were ranked No. 1 and featured on the cover
of SI's college football preview. "You can't put any more
pressure on us than we put on ourselves,'' coach Dick Tomey said
before last season. While that may have been true, it was also
true that the Wildcats wilted under the spotlight.

But there is another side to the lessons of '94 for Arizona. If
the ascension to national power was more than the Wildcats could
handle, they should remember this: They would have played in the
Rose Bowl if they had beaten Oregon in Game 8; that game
essentially ended when a Wildcat pass was intercepted late in
the fourth quarter. And Arizona has won 18 games in two years,
which qualifies as excellence by almost any standard in college
football. But the measure of Arizona's arrival among the
perennial powers will come this season as it seeks to remain a
top program.

To do that, Arizona must rebuild the defensive dominance that
made it the most intimidating--and inscrutable--team in the Pac-10
in 1992 and '93. But Desert Swarm was unmasked last autumn. Many
Pac-10 teams have solved the riddle of Arizona's double-eagle
flex alignment, which will necessitate adjustments by the

Defensive end Tedy Bruschi, an undersized (6'1", 255) but
relentless pass rusher who had 10 sacks last fall, is likely to
repeat as first-team All-America and is a candidate for the
Outland and Lombardi awards. Also returning on the defensive
line are senior nosetackle Chuck Osborne and junior tackle Joe

It is also necessary for the Arizona secondary, which allowed 13
touchdown passes a year ago while intercepting only four, to
improve dramatically. The leader is senior strong safety Brandon
Sanders, a motormouth big-hit specialist who will pass his
wisdom and attitude on to a crop of four high school All-Americas.

The Arizona offense lost tailback Ontiwaun Carter, who rushed
for 1,163 yards, as well as all five starters from a veteran
line that underachieved last season. This places an additional
burden on senior quarterback Dan White, who has played a
supporting role in his two years as a starter. "Now it's time
for him to step up his game," says Tomey.

It was after Arizona's Freedom Bowl loss to Utah that Bruschi,
upon seeing a familiar writer in the belly of Anaheim Stadium,
made the following statement, almost by way of explaining the
Wildcats' absence from Pasadena: "The Pac-10 is the best
conference in the country, top to bottom.''

Perhaps. But clearly '95 is the Wildcats' year to prove that
they have established a foothold near the top.

--Tim Layden

COLOR PHOTO: BRAD MANGIN Bruschi (68) and Osborne must get the Arizona defense back in line. [Chuck Osborne and Tedy Bruschi tackling opponent]


Head coach: Dick Tomey
Career college record: 117-81-7
Ninth year at Arizona (54-35-4)

1994 RECORD: 8-4
Pac-10 record: 6-2 (tied for second)

W at Georgia Tech 19-14
W New Mexico State 44-0
W at Stanford 34-10
W Oregon State 30-10
L Colorado State 21-16
W at Washington State 10-7
W UCLA 34-24
L at Oregon 10-9
W California 13-6
L at USC 45-28
W Arizona State 28-27
L Utah 16-13 (Freedom Bowl)

Final '94 rankings: 20 AP, 20 USA Today/CNN

Lettermen lost: 23
Lettermen returning: 37
Returning starters, offense: 3
Returning starters, defense: 7

Sept. 23 USC
Oct. 21 Washington
Nov. 11 Oregon