No props, no gimmicks: Arizona Wildcats defense just needs turnovers

Tony Fields is second on the team with 34 tackles.Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to takeaways, no team is worse

The Arizona defense needs more turnovers. They do not need a turnover gimmick.

At least that's how one of the Wildcats' best defenders, sophomore linebacker Tony Fields, feels. Asked if he and his teammates had considered some sort of sideline prop, popularized last season by Miami's Turnover Chain, he said he'd pass.

"Me personally, I wouldn't want to do it, just because that's more following another team," Fields said Tuesday.

"I'd rather just have us hype each other up. And we have the scoreboard, of course. They show us and the cameras follow us. That's all the hype you need. You don't need a turnover chain or anything like that."

While the Wildcats will not be copycats, several schools have followed Miami's lead.

Boise State has a Turnover Throne. Memphis has a Ric Flair-styled Turnover Robe. Tulane plays into the New Orleans theme with Turnover Beads. Louisville, with a nod to favorite son Muhammad Ali, has the Turnover Gloves and Turnover Belt.

Florida State has the Turnover Backpack. Oregon State has the Turnover Chainshaw.

"So, no chainshaw?" Fields was asked Tuesday.

"C'mon," he said with a smile.

Still more: SMU has the Turnover Crown and Chalice. Kennesaw State -- yes, Kennesaw State -- has a Turnover Plank. Even Ala-freakin'-bama has joined the club and is among a few other schools with a Turnover Belt.

Arizona State last week broke out a curl bar after coming up with a turnover, an idea cooked up by junior receiver N'Keal Harry and now dismissed by coach Herm Edwards.

Arizona doesn't want to join the sideline show, but it does want to join the turnover party.

The Wildcats have one takeaway on the season, tied for last in the nation. Two other teams -- strange bedfellows Coastal Carolina and Texas A&M -- that have played four games also have created a scant one turnover. For Arizona, that came on safety Jarrius Wallace's interception of a tipped pass against Southern Utah.

"We stress takeaways in practice. We need three takeaways in practice or we get in trouble," Fields said.

"I don't know why they haven't come. We've been ripping at the ball and punching at the ball a little more, as you can see from the last two games. The ball has been on the ground a little bit."

But sometimes the oblong pigksin doesn't bounce your way. Oregon State fumbled twice, recovered both, last week. Southern Utah fumbled twice, recovered both. The Cats haven't pounced on any of five opponent fumbles this season.

"Once you get that ball out, everybody's got to swarm to the ball," Fields said.

"We can't have just the people who are in the area. We need to have guys who are 20 yards away to run to the ball as fast as we can because at the end of the day you don't know where the ball is going to bounce once it comes out."

Comments