Quinn ready to be a leader

Kyle Quinn

Offensive lineman Kyle Quinn has seen his role on the team increase dramatically. Read on to see how he plans to take on the challenge, his impressions of the line so far, and more.

Kyle Quinn has a lot of responsibility this season. Not only is he charged with leading an offensive line group responsible for replacing all five starters from a year ago, but he's also forced to replace one of the program's more memorable linemen of the Stoops' era in Colin Baxter.

Now a redshirt junior, Quinn has spent his first three seasons as Baxter's backup, which obviously allotted him minimal playing time so far in his career. With Baxter moved onto to the NFL's San Diego Chargers, it's up to Quinn to put his predecessor's teachings to use as the team's starting center.

"Replacing Colin, I don't feel much pressure, it just really motivates me," Quinn said. "49 straight starts, that's unheard of in college football. I look up to him, he's my mentor, and he taught me everything I know. He taught me everything a center needs to be, that I need to be a tough guy, be smart, and be athletic. He taught me all of that stuff."

If you attend a practice, you'll likely hear Quinn on the sidelines coaching his fellow first team linemen up, or getting on them for their effort or performance. As the old man of the offensive line group, it's natural for Quinn to have emerged as a leader and mentor for his younger teammates.

"Leadership comes with the position," Quinn said. "Being around here, this is my fourth camp. I feel like I'm one of the older guys here and I just have to make sure everyone stays in line and everyone stays focused and gets better out on the field."

So far in his fourth camp as an Arizona Wildcat, Quinn is seeing a lot of things he likes from this entirely new offensive line group.

"Camp went well," Quinn said. "From where we've progressed since day one, I think we've had 15 or 16 practices, the improvement we've made as a line and individually at each position has been pretty big."

While the offensive line struggled at times throughout camp, Quinn sees beyond the mistakes and the mishaps and knows what the group is capable of.

"Our potential individually and our potential as a group is through the roof," Quinn said. "When we play well, we see it on film and we make good plays. That's all we have to do is play as a group at all times and protect the quarterback. We do our job, we hold up and give him time, we're going to make plays and score some points.

"We can accomplish pretty much anything as an offense. We have great playmakers, you see the catches Juron (Criner) makes in practice if we hold up like we can and like we've been doing it at times. We just have to build that consistency and do that every play, every snap."

Along with five new offensive linemen, offensive line coach Robert Anae is new to the group as well. Despite the changeover in coaching from Bill Bedenbaugh to Anae, Quinn insists that the group has entirely bought into their new coach's teachings.

"Learning from Coach Anae has been unbelievable," Quinn said. "He's an amazing coach and he has us all believing in his philosophy and getting back to the basics and playing for each other. He has us giving 110 percent every time we're on the field and not being afraid to make a mistake."

With a new coach and a new group of linemen surrounding him, Quinn is focused on using 2011 to continue to improve week in and week out.

"I just want to get better," Quinn said. "I've only played in one game, so my goal is to get better with every game. I want no negative production on the field; I just want to get better every day. I just want to help these young guys along and win every game we can."

If the offensive line gels together and is able to keep Nick Foles upright, the team could have a shot at completing what Quinn believes to be the team's ultimate goal.

"Our biggest goal is to win the Pac-12 South and then go represent the division and take on whoever it is from the North," Quinn said. "We just want to go out there and compete hard and win every day."

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