Arizona linebacker Colin Schooler grew up in Dana Point, a city off the Southern California coast known more for its surfing than for its football. Linebacker Tony Fields II grew up in Las Vegas, known best for the bright lights and high-stakes living.
While their backgrounds might be different, on and off the field these two linebackers have more in common than just chasing after the quarterback.
Fields and Schooler both came to Arizona as a part of the 2017 recruiting class, the last one under former head coach Rich Rodriguez. Fields started all 13 games, and Schooler started the final nine. Fields and Schooler were both named Freshman All-Americans by numerous publications, with Schooler going on to win Pac-12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year.
The bond between the two seemed unlikely at first, but as the two got to know each other, they noticed the similarities.
“When I first met him we were a little shaky,” Fields said at Arizona’s weekly media day Tuesday. “We started going out to eat and hanging out, and we realized we’re actually a lot alike.”
Fields says the two even get almost the same exact text messages from their dads on the same exact days. Their friendship and connection has helped the two, whether it is a big game between a ranked opponent or a regular day between classes.
“We watch film together everyday," Fields said. “We look at the boundaries, my side of the field, his side, receiver alignments, trying to see what tips off their play calling.”
Fields says they spend about three hours a week just watching film together, aided by their similar schedules.
“We watch film before practice, and then after classes we have pretty much the same schedule,” Fields said. “We talk about what we see and who to watch out for. Just talking football.”
Trailing 14-10 in the third quarter Saturday against Cal, Schooler made a big play, recovering a tipped pass for an interception. Running across the field, he had the ball punched out from behind on his way to the end zone, but it was luckily recovered by Azizi Hearn for the touchdown. Fields says he hasn’t stopped letting Schooler live it down.
“He’s gonna hear it every time he touches the ball,” Fields joked. “He won’t hear the end of it from me.”
Schooler and Fields have been a big part in the Wildcats' recent success on defense, a unit that has forced seven turnovers the past two weeks after forcing just four the first four weeks of the season. They will look to keep winning the turnover battle this week against a Utah team that didn’t turn the ball over once in their win against Stanford last week.
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