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July 27, 2013

Miller to open season at WR; Neal decision coming

AUDIO: Terrence Miller talks to GOAZCATS.com at Pac-12 media day about the void at receiver, the quarterbacks and more

CULVER CITY, Calif. -- For the second time in as many seasons, Arizona finds itself replacing the previous year's top receiver.

A year ago, Austin Hill more than capably filled the void left when Juron Criner departed for the NFL. When Hill's 2013 season was put into question this spring with a torn ACL, one of the biggest question marks for the new season was how UA would replace his 1,364 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Head coach Rich Rodriguez said wide receiver is the most thin position on the roster.

Hill is out, but UA also opens the season with David Richards' status as questionable. Rodriguez said Richards is "banged up for the start of camp." Richards tweeted on Friday that he had surgery to put a new screw in his foot, which he broke prior to spring camp.

Hill's possible season-ending injury and Richards' few weeks of rehabilitation just scratch the surface of the issues plaguing the Wildcat wideouts. Tyler Slavin left the team this off-season. Richard Morrison was moved to defensive back.

Davonte Neal will likely be unavailable, too. The highly touted Notre Dame transfer is appealing to the NCAA for immediate eligibility, but Rodriguez said he doubts it will be granted. A call with the NCAA is scheduled for Aug. 1.

As a result, Terrence Miller said he wants to be the guy the offense runs its passing game through in the upcoming season.

"You never want to see guys go down, especially quality guys like Austin," Miller said. "When it happens, we recruited well enough that we have people who can step in. Hopefully it can be me."

Miller also said that he intended to take on a leadership role, in order to help the young receivers develop.

Rodriguez's first two signing classes at UA feature such potential candidates as redshirt freshmen Trey Griffey and Clive Georges.

A youngster stepping up is crucial for the Wildcat passing attack, but the role of the veteran Miller will have an interesting dynamic.

He was moved to tight end in the offseason, but Rodriguez said he could be used in other facets.

"He's best used…at tight end, [or] the slot," Rodriguez said of Miller. "On occasion, putting him outside because he's big and strong. He's still going to play some tight end, play inside a little bit. But until we get some of those receivers healthy, he's going to play on the outside."

Kyle KensingKyle Kensing
GOAZCATS.com Staff Writer

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