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Willy's statement play

(Cover photo courtesy: Shreveport Times) (Cover photo courtesy: Shreveport Times)
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TUCSON, AZ -

Junior William Parks' signature play as an Arizona Wildcat came in the program's final game of the 2013 season.

Parks' 69-yard interceptions return for a touchdown in Advocare Bowl was the play that swung the game into the UA's favor. For it he was named the game's Defensive MVP.

Parks played in all 13 games in 2013 and started four contests. Over the course of the year, he tallied 31 tackles, broke up five passes and had another interception in the 44-20 win at Colorado.

“He was a good football player last year and my job is to make him a great football player,” said UA Safeties Coach Matt Caponi said. “He's playing a different position now but he studies the game and the sky is the limit for Will. He's going to be a true junior, he's got great physical ability and great mental ability. He needs to stay healthy but the sky is the limit for him.”

Caponi sights Parks willingness to work on and off the field for his surge last year into becoming a staple on the Arizona defense. Last year, Parks started four games at ‘bandit' position but in the fall he has been playing the ‘spur' position.

“Will studies film well and understands how offenses are trying to attack our style of defense,” Caponi said. “He's playing a different position but it's not really a big change for him. I try to teach those guys both positions; they do some of the same stuff depending on the offensive formation. The only real difference is that you're obviously playing closer to the line of scrimmage, so you have to be able to read your keys quicker and things happen faster rather than when you are playing 10 yards off the ball.”

Despite his new position, his new role as a starter and an important player for the Wildcat defense, Parks felt that he could lead his teammates and they would respond well.

“Last year, we improved as a defense from the year before,” Parks said. “But, who wouldn't want to be No. 1 in the country as a defense? A lot of people aren't talking about us right now so that just gave me more motivation to get guys out there when they had free time, to go over film and to do extra work on the field. I think that's helping us out at practice so far. Obviously, we have a long ways to go, but I think that this was our best summer as a team overall and definitely as a defense.”

Parks believes he can become a great player, like Caponi said, and he plans on doing whatever it takes to get there.

“To become a great player, I need to do everything I did last year as far as hard work, but double it,” Parks said. “If it's only sleeping for four hours, then so be it. Whatever it takes to get to that next level, to be an elite player and an elite athlete, that's what I'm going to do, whatever it takes. You could have me walk on hot rocks; I'll do it if it'll help me become a better player. That's my type of mentality; my life is based off of hard work.”

Arizona opens the 2014 season on August 29, at Arizona Stadium, against UNLV at 7:30 p.m. MST.

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