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New Mexico Bowl: Paul Magloire prepares for his first bowl game experience

After making the switch from safety to linebacker, Paul Magloire is ready to attack the triple option

Jennifer Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Magloire made a splash in his first year with the Arizona Wildcats, but it wasn't until about week five when his presence was truly felt. It was that week, vs. Oregon State, where Magloire switched from a utility safety, to weak-side linebacker.

He finished the season second in tackles behind William Parks, tallying 59 on the season, only eight of which came from before his switch to linebacker. Now, he'll be playing his first bowl game at Arizona, hoping to end his season, and birthday week, with a victory.

"Let's not talk about it," Magloire laughed about his age. "Nah, I'll be turning 23. Some of the guys mess with me, talk about how I'm getting old. I mean I'm a lot older than the normal. I went to junior college, redshirted a year and stuff like that."

Rich Rodriguez has continually said that once the season is over, he and his staff will evaluate every position, and make the necessary changes to address positions of needs. Rodriguez has said that he's unsure of where Paul will go. But this season Magloire has proved that he has the versatility to play anywhere.

"Shoot, I don't know," he said when asked if he would stay at linebacker. "I'm all over, I guess you could say that. Just roll with the punches wherever they want to me go, and I'll just go there. Your guess is just as good as mine. I'm just here to play football and play well wherever they put me in."

As the weak-side linebacker, Magloire will have a busy day on Saturday, defending the triple option. The Lobos are averaging the 9th most rushing yards in the nation, and have the ability to break lose on any given play.

"Definitely reading the keys right and looking at the right things," he said about defending the UNM offense. "If you look at the wrong things while you playing linebacker you wind up in places you don't want to be; out of place and getting blocked."

"It's a little different. It's good that we got so much time to look at it, for sure. If you're looking at a week in advance, I'd be like 'woah okay,'" he said with a disgruntled face. "But now we have a lot of days and got some practices, so we'll be good. We got to look at it a lot, fix our mistakes in practice."

The Lobos averaged about 13 pass attempts per game this season, keeping the defense on their toes for many reasons. Having three options to run the ball on virtually every play, and then being able to drop back out of the option and pass.

"They're reading us. So one mistake and the ball could be gone for 60 yards. So everyone has to be on their P's and Q's this game and everyone has to do their assignment and we should be good," he said.

"Looking at the breakdown, they haven't thrown too much. So who knows?," Magloire said about how much they'll throw. "You never know what a team is going to do. So you just have to go with the punches, know what their throws are, their main throws, and know what they're going to run, running-wise. So just know everything and don't just guess 'they're not going to throw the ball much this game, they're just going to run the ball all game,' you just don't know. So that's why we practice everyday and study film and so we're ready for whatever gets thrown at us."

Amidst the interview, Brandon Dawkins decided to join in on the fun

Paul Magloire will get his first bowl bowl game in the Pac-12, and he's very excited for the opportunity, and the gift suites.

"I'm excited to play," he said about his first bowl experience. "I was actually talking to one of the coaches about this the other day. But we played in a bowl game in junior college, I don't know if it counts, the Toro Bowl, but definitely excited for the gifts and stuff. I'm excited. Not too many games on that day, and everyone watches bowl games. I remember when I was younger I used to watch all the bowl games. So I'm excited to get put on the big stage and play in this game," he said with a smile.

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ON SCOOBY WRIGHT PLAYING

This will be the first time that Arizona will have Scooby Wright III on the field since week four of the regular season. This will also be the first time Paul and Scooby will be playing next to each other at linebacker. With the consensus All-American linebacker on the field, things have changed a bit in practice.

"Definitely a big one," he said about Scooby's impact. "He's the heart of the defense. Y'all know that and talk about that daily, so you guys know that he's a big part of the defense. You definitely can tell things are a little more different having him out here now. People are a little more locked in and he's pointing guys in the right direction," he said about Scooby at practice.

"I feel like we're more intense as a defense. We're more hyped up and getting after things and being more excited, having him out there with us. It's definitely good to have someone, with the things that he did in previous seasons, out there with us. He won all of those awards, he's one of the best players in college football so it's good to have us out there with us."