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Arizona center Josh McCauley won’t let scholarship lead to complacency

NCAA Football: Arizona State at Arizona Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Wildcats’ center Josh McCauley spoke with the media after day six of the UA’s fall camp on Thursday night, and when he did it marked the first time he’d done so since he was given a scholarship back in the spring.

Listening to him address the assembled journalists inside the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility, it was easy to see just how appreciative the former walk-on is to finally have that precious full ride.

“It was a great moment for me,” he said of when it was announced to the team just hours before the annual spring game. “Just being there surrounded by my teammates, I loved it. It meant a lot.”

To make the moment even sweeter, McCauley’s parents had driven down to Tucson for the spring game.

“They were really happy,” he said of his parents. “It was great I got to seem them.”

After a breakout season last year in which he unexpectedly started all 12 games as a redshirt sophomore (the original-starter, Nathan Eldridge, dealt with knee trouble) it’s easy to understand why second year head coach Kevin Sumlin and his coaching staff were so eager to get McCauley on scholarship.

He was a central figure, literally and figuratively, in an offensive line that guided the Wildcats to the highest number of rushing yards per game in the Pac-12 (202.4 ypr) and the third fewest sacks allowed in the conference (12).

In a year that was mostly disappointing for Arizona, their O-line was definitely a bright spot - as was McCauley.

Despite his personal success (and that of the offensive line) last season, the six-three 292 pound center says he knows he can’t get complacent now that he is no longer a walk-on.

“That’s really not who I am,” he said. “I just play it day by day and play by play to do what I can to help this team. I’m not going to get a big head about it.”

On O-line’s relationship with Khalil Tate

McCauley was the latest player to say that quarterback Khalil Tate has taken on more of a leadership role this season.

“He’s just more vocal, especially out on the field,” McCauley said. “He’s talking to us, communicating. We’re moving a lot faster.”

Arizona center Josh McCauley talks about being put on scholarship, the offensive line, and Khalil Tate’s leadership

Posted by AZ Desert Swarm on Thursday, August 1, 2019