TUCSON ?C The University of Arizona football team held its seventh practice of its 2007 Fall Camp on Wednesday night, with a shorter than usual practice at the Rincon Vista Complex. Like each of the previous practices, the Wildcats worked through routine drills, including individual, group, special teams, 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 segments.
Wednesdayˇ?s evening workout was bit warmer than the Wildcats have become accustomed to over the past week, as sunny skies prevailed with temperatures steadily in the 90s. The warm temps could be partly to blame for a somewhat sluggish performance by the Wildcats, or it could just be the typical "wall" that most teams hit after a few days in full pads and the daily grind that accompanies fall camp.
With players wearing only shells (shoulder pads and helmets), the 7-on-7 was not nearly as eventful for either side as Tuesdayˇ?s. Willie Tuitama got off to a solid start, completing passes to Rob Gronkowski (five yards), Travis Bell (seven yards), Chris Jennings (eight yards) and Anthony Johnson (ten yards). He also completed his next three passes to Brandon Lopez, Gronkowski, and Rod Rivera for five yards apiece.
However, after the perfect start, Tuitama tried to force a pass late over the middle to Johnson, where Spencer Larsen had dropped into his zone coverage. The senior linebacker intercepted the pass, ending the Tuitamaˇ?s string of completions. On the next play, the blue shirt defernse nearly came away with another pick, as Wilrey Fontenot stepped in front of Tuitamaˇ?s pass, breaking up the pass intended for Terrell Reese.
Kris Heavner and Tyler Lyon also saw action in the drill, but neither had much significant success finding receivers downfield. Heavnerˇ?s longest completion was an eight-yarder to Terry Longbons out of the backfield, while Lyon was able to find Gronwkoski for 12 yards for his only completion.
In 11-on-11 action, Tuitama and the offense got off to a bit of a slow start. After a couple short gains, Tuitama looked for Johnson over the middle, but the ball was batted away by Corey Hall. However, on the next play, Tuitama went right back to Johnson on nearly the same play, but this time the two connected for a gain of 12 yards.
Several plays later, B.J. Dennard hauled in a spectacular catch to keep the momentum on the offensive side. Tuitama led Dennard nicely into space over the middle, but Dennard had to make a diving catch to reel in the 17-yard pass. On the next play, Tuitama handed off Jennings, who made an outstanding read, cutting back to his left and bursting into space for a gain of at least eight yards.
Later on, Tuitama was able to draw the defense offside and he immediately went for the deep ball. Streaking down the left sideline was David Roberts, who had beaten Devin Ross on the play. Roberts made a nice over-the-shoulder catch, keeping a foot inbounds and caught the pass for a 30-yard pickup.
Three plays later, Tuitama again went to the air. After avoiding the rush and stepping up in the pocket, he found Mike Thomas open for a gain of 18 yards along the right sideline.
Later in the segment, Heavner wasted no time making big plays. On his first play, he went to the air and completed a pass to Delashaun Dean for a gain of 30-yards. On the next snap, Heavner tossed a perfect pass downfield for Gronkowski, who made the catch 37 yards downfield. Both plays could have gone for touchdowns in live, full-contact action.
Arizona will hold its first two-a-day workout tomorrow. The morning session is set to begin at 7:45 a.m., and is open to the public and media. The evening workout is slated for 5:45 p.m. Like all fall camp practices, time and location is subject to change.
- The Arizona staff moved Wednesdayˇ?s practice up an hour to 4:45 p.m., and shortened the practice slightly in advance of tomorrowˇ?s two-a-day practice.
- Several players finished up Summer Session II finals earlier and the day, which was one reason why the staffed pushed two-a-days back to Thursday.
- Wednesday was by far the warmest day of camp thus far, as Tucson reached a high temperature of 97 degrees.
- 7-on-7 passing stats: Tuitama (9-12, INT), Kris Heavner (5-6), Tyler Lyon (1-3)
- 11-on-11 passing stats: Tuitama (10-15), Heavner (5-6), Lyon (3-6, INT)
- 11-on11 action proved to be a bit sloppy mechanically for the Wildcats, as the defense jumped the snap count early on two occasions, while the offense had one false start.
- Lionel Dotson and James Alford recorded "sacks" during 11-on-11 action, while Josh Lewis and Ricky Elmore hurried Tuitama into a throw. In live action, the play could have resulted in a sack.
- Towards the end of the workout, Tyler Lyon was intercepted by freshman cornerback Trevin Wade.
Head Coach Mike Stoops
On Wednesdayˇ?s practice:
"Today was not quite as good as weˇ?ve had. We didnˇ?t practice as sharply today. Our intensity and focus was not what it has been, I guess. We sort of hit that wall. We moved practice up and with the heat, we just werenˇ?t as sharp."
On senior defensive end Louis Holmesˇ? summer arrest on misdemeanor charges:
"Obviously, Iˇ?m very disappointed. I donˇ?t have all the information; there are two sides to every story. We obviously donˇ?t condone fighting in any way. You canˇ?t win in those situations."
"Weˇ?ll handle the situation. We will let the process work itself out."
"Nothing good happens after midnight. You just canˇ?t win in those situations. That has always been our message."
On freshman wide receiver Devin Veal:
"Devin has been terrific. He has a lot of talent and catches the ball with great ease. I havenˇ?t seen him drop a pass yet in camp."
Defensive coordinator Mark Stoops:
On senior cornerback Wilrey Fontenot:
"Wilrey is doing good. The big thing with him and a guys like him and Antoine who have played a lot is continuing to improve. As a senior, itˇ?s your last shot. You have to go out and leave it all on the field. And, you canˇ?t make the same mistakes as youˇ?ve made in the past."
On Fontenot possibly being overshadowed by the well-credentialed Cason:
"With the position hi plays, heˇ?s out to the wide side of the field. You probably get a little less action there than where Antoine plays (boundary corner). That is also probably why he gets a little unnoticed."