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Az Spring ball 3-12
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 03/12/2008
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?TUCSON--The Wildcat football team preps for its Spring Break with some live-action plays Wednesday on the fourth day of spring practice.

UA will be off the field and out of the classrooms next week and will not resume practice until Monday, March 24.

So far, so good, according to Arizona coach Mike Stoops and staff, who have conducted drills to this point with enthusiasm?but pointed business-only planning.

"It's a time to work. We're doing that," said Stoops. "The guys have a nice determined approach and we're getting things done."

?For his part, senior quarterback Willie Tuitama, who passed for more than 3,600 yards and a league-best 28 scores last season, promises more individual leadership.

"I spent more time in the film room and have a better grasp of the offense for the second year (of UA using the spread)," said Tuitama, who also said maybe he'd throw for 5,000 yards this year.

?That's a high target even as an offhand comment, but Tuitama and nine of his teammates are the veteran core of a unit that returns 10 of its 11 starters, losing only left tackle Peter Graniello to graduation.

?Meantime, on defense, Mike Stoops, coordinator Mark Stoops, line coaches Mike Tuiasosopo and Jeff Hammerschmidt, and linebackers coach Tim Kish are crafting a unit from three returning starters -- safeties Nate Ness and Cam Nelson, and middle linebacker Ronnie Palmer.

The rest of that unit, including all-league stars Antoine Cason and Spencer Larsen, are gone, some working in Tucson toward potential opportunities in the National Football League.

?Cason,?who turns 22 in July, spent some time Wednesday in McKale Center's media relations office working with an 'authenticity' representative from the NFL, signing autograph impessions for later use on?trading cards bearing his likeness.

A nice workout in full pads would be easier than penning his signature several hundred times over and over, Cason noted, "but this?will pay money."

Antoine cards

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2008 Returning Starters

OFFENSE

WR Mike Thomas (Sr.), TE Rob Gronkowski (So.), LG Colin Baxter (So.), C Blake Kerley (Jr.), RG Joe Longacre (Sr.), RT Eben Britton (So.), WR Terrell Turner (Jr.), QB Willie Tuitama (Sr.), RB Nic Grigsby (So.), WR Delashaun Dean (So.). Other starts of note: WR Terrell Reese (So., 4 starts).

DEFENSE

LB Ronnie Palmer (Sr.), FS Nate Ness (Sr.), SS Cam Nelson (Jr.). Others: Johnathan Turner (25 career starts, 6 in 2007).

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