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Vets Take Day Off, Prepare For Contact
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 08/10/1999
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DOUGLAS, Ariz. (August 10) - Lightning played a role at Arizona's football training camp for the second time in four days, but was minimized when Arizona coach Dick Tomey gave his football veterans a day off Tuesday as the team geared up for its first practices in full pads on Wednesday morning.

An early morning bomb threat at the Cochise College campus caused no delay in any of the team's football functions, though it did close access to the school for nearly four hours from 6 to 10 a.m. The Wildcats had planned no action until walk-through drills at 11 a.m.

More classroom and no-equipment schematic sessions with the full squad took up much of the day until the 4 p.m. practice, which moved indoors after 40 minutes of work in the rain because of nearby lightning strikes. After a hour, the limited squad -- newcomers, redshirt freshmen and reserve squad members -- moved back outside to complete the practice.

"We accomplished a lot today. The whole idea was to give the veterans a day off, and give the (younger) players a bunch of concentrated work," Tomey said, adding that NCAA rules essentially afford an extra day of half-pads workouts that he felt were best missed by the top one or two units on both offense and defense.

"The day off, and what it means in extra work for (new) guys, will pay off sometime down the road, whether it's tomorrow, next month or three months from now," Tomey said.

The schedule gave No. 3 quarterback Jason Johnson, a redshirt freshman, and incoming freshmen quarterbacks Cliff Watkins and Kyle Slager considerable action. "Jason's way ahead. It's not a horse race. But that's expected -- and should be. He's really smart and has a year in the program," Tomey said.

The team will don full gear for the first time in Wednesday morning's 8:30 a.m. practice. "It's not a whole lot different than half-pads (shoulder pads only). But you'll see some guys being more reckless when they get in full pads," he said.

"We don't do a lot of hitting, though. You're rolling the dice when you do that," Tomey said. "We have to be smart about what we do because when we return to Tucson we're about a week out from our opener."

Notes: Tomey visited a nearby state prison at mid-day Tuesday to address a sizeable group of inmates who were awarded General Equivalency Degrees. "I don't think I can tell you exactly how I feel about it yet. It's such a life-changing experience. It's the kind of thing you need to think about (before you can put it in words). I got a lot more out of it than they did," he said... Senior wide receiver Brad Brennan, the team's leader in yards per catch the last two years (17.0 and 20.9), moved around camp on crutches part of Tuesday, nursing a right hamstring injury ... A number of players who spent Monday and Tuesday in Tucson to complete the second session of summer school were expected to return to camp for Wednesday's drills ... The seasonal thunderstorms which have hit camp several times since it began Saturday have had little effect on the practice field, which is on higher ground on the Cochise College campus. It's a soccer field -- the school does not sponsor football.

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