Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Football Notes - August 14
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: August 15, 2000
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DOUGLAS, Ariz. (Aug. 14, 2000) -- Two pieces of the puzzle in the University of Arizona's new secondary appear in place after five days of fall football training camp at Cochise College near here - cornerback Michael Jolivette and strong safety Brandon Nash.

Each was listed No. 1 after spring ball and have have made stronger bids in camp to hold the spots, receiving praise from coach Dick Tomey. Jolivette is a redshirt freshman, and Nash, who redshirted last season after converting from wide receiver, is a junior.

"Michael is real serious. He's a hard-working guy who sees the game, and understands the game. He has good hands and is a good hitter. You don't have to tell him everything because he just sees everything going on around him. And he's one of the fastest guys on the team," Tomey said.

Jolivette has three interceptions in camp and numerous pass breakups. UA's other cornerback candidate currently is fellow redshirt freshman David Hinton, who's in a close battle for the role with junior college transfer Jermaine Chatman and junior letterman Anthony Banks.

Nash is one of several players Tomey credits with giving Arizona a much better "hitting" team than a yer ago, along with sophomore linebacker Lance Briggs and free safety candidate Clay Hardt. Briggs is a solid No. 1 inside and Hardt is battling returning starter Jarvie Worcester, a sophomore, for No. 1.

"Sometimes you just need a few guys like Hardt, Briggs and Nash. They're tremendously aggressive and beacon lights for others to follow. Last year maybe we didn't have naturally aggressive guys. Some love it, some like it and some tolerate hitting. Those guys love it," Tomey said.

After more than a dozen practices, Tomey's most impressed with the continued work ethic and improved physical play of the team. "No one looks really good because everyone's tired, but they're working hard. We saw a million thousand mistakes (on the tape of Saturday's scrimmage), but some real players set the standard for hitting."

Tomey canceled Monday evening's practice because many players were limited because of assorted sprains, bumps and bruises. The team split into unit groups and met with coaches or held clothed walk- throughs in the Cochise College gymnasium.


  • Senior wide receiver Brad Brennan has been limited to conditioning drills because of a back injury but Tomey said he should be ready for the Sept. 2 season opener at Utah. "I believe we'll have a better receiving corps as a whole than last year," Tomey said, citing Bobby Wade, Brennan, Brandon Marshall, Andrae Thurman, Gary Love and Malosi Leonard. The latter has been slowed in camp by blistered heels

  • The competition for the starting right guard spot remains a positive for the offensive line. Aaron Higginbotham is listed No. 1, but Tomey said backup Kevin Barry "is our best drive blocker."

  • Senior defensive end Joe Tafoya, who played most of 1999 as an interior tackle, may see similar action in passing situations in 2000 depending on the development of senior lettermen Austin Uku and Mike Robertson and junior transfer Johnny Jackson. Jackson's been bothered by a sore back, Robertson is out of action with an abdominal problem and Uku was initially expected to redshirt the 2000 season. Alex Luna is No. 1 at the other end spot. Depth at the interior tackle spots, however, appears good with junior Keoni Fraser and sophomore Young Thompson competing with Anthony Thomas and Ben Alualu for starting roles. All have seen Pac-10 action
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