Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  By STEVE RIVERA  |  Last updated 8/23/13
TUCSON,Ariz. -- Arizona's best wide receiver isn't catching any passes or running anyroutes in camp, but he's helping.Austin Hill, last year's breakout star at theposition, isn't sure if he'll return to the team this season becauseof an ACL injury he suffered in the spring, but in the meantime, he's doing what he can for ayoung, inexperienced group of receivers.Hill,a junior, is anxious to get back on the field, but he also needs to be cautiousnot to return too quickly and risk another injury.For the same reason, Arizona is being careful with Hill's recovery even though he would bring much-needed stability to the position. He wasconsidered a potential All-American before tearing his ACL the week of thespring game earlier this year.Hillsaid his chances of coming back this season are about "50-50," and if he does return, it wouldn't be until at least the midpoint of the season."Idon't want to screw it up again -- coming back too early could mess up mycareer," said Hill, who last year was a semifinalist for the BiletnikoffAward, which goes to the nation's best receiver, after finishing with 81 catches and 11touchdown receptions. "I'm trying to be smart with it right now."The silver lining, Hill said, is that he's been able to work on lesser-noticed facets such as upper-body strength. "It'sgiven me time on things I've needed to get better at and improve," hesaid.Still, beingoff the field "isn't fun at all," Hill said. "It's just making me more hungry, makingme want to get out on the field."Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said Hill is not only valuable on the field but has shown his ability off the field in camp, tutoring some of the inexperienced players competing to temporarily fill his void. Itsnot just that hes a great player, but (it's) the leadership he can teach someof these guys," Rodriguez said. "Hes been trying to do it from afarin the locker room and stuff like that. When school starts, hes allowed tocome to the meetings. Hes a sharp guy. Hell be ready to go.Whenhe'll be ready -- if he'll be ready at all this year -- is anyone's guess. But Arizona should get some help at receiver before then in the form of sophomore David Richards, who has been recovering from a stress fracture in his leg that required surgery. He's missed all of camp but is projected to be backaround the second week of the season, assuming all continues to go well with his recovery. "Sucksnot being out there," saidRichards, who's been on crutches throughout camp. "It's a struggle and a grind right nowEven if Richards returns quickly, there is a longlist of players competing to step into Hill's spot and take on a greater role this year: Garic Wharton, Johnny Jackson, Nate Phillips and Trey Griffey are among the candidates. But can they provide the Wildcats with as much playmaking ability as Hill did last season? "Nobodycan be me," Hill said with a smile. "Just like I can't be anyoneelse. I do have a lot of confidence in Johnny. The freshmen do show a lot ofpromise. I was able to coach them up in the summer."NOTABLEArizonawill have a "scrimmage" Saturday night that, according to Rodriguez, will really be more of a glorified walkthrough. Rodriguez has called it the "Beanie Bowl," noting that he's never lost one yet.The Beanie Bowl gives everyone -- from the players to the coaches to the stadium operations staff-- a chance for a dress rehearsal before next weeks game against Northern Arizona. Tomorrows scrimmage will mean absolutely nothing to us as far asdetermining who is going to play, Rodriguez said Friday. Its a glorifiedwalkthrough. Well have pads on and theyll look good in their new uniforms.Unless a guy just blows a gasket mentally, it will make us a little nervous.But other than that, most of our evaluations are coming in practice, and(Saturday) wont be the end-all anyways."
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