Aug. 10, 2001
TUCSON -- The Arizona football team wrapped up preliminary training camp sessions with a spirited solo practice on Friday afternoon, and prepared for the first day of full contact in full pads Saturday morning.
"We will be in full pads tomorrow, and the game changes when you put on the full pads. We have to be ready because good teams learn how to practice no matter what you wear. Our lines block full speed all of the time, and we run and throw full speed all of the time," head coach John Mackovic said.
Most afternoon or evening practices since camp opened with freshman drills Aug. 3 have been heavy on passing situations, and Friday's was no different.
Junior quarterback Jason Johnson, from Puyallup, Wash., operated exclusively with the first unit and had some success in seven-on-seven and full-line drills, completing 5-of-9 passes for 63 yards and an out-and-up scoring strike to Brandon Marshall. But backups Cliff Watkins and John Rattay also saw considerable action fighting for the No. 2 role.
Watkins, a sophomore from Breckenridge, Texas, completed 4-of-6 throws for 55 yards and also had a touchdown throw in a short-field "scoring zone" period. Rattay, a redshirt freshman from Phoenix, completed 3-of-4 passes for 48 yards, but also suffered interceptions by cornerback Anthony Banks and linebacker Matt Molina.
UA's defense was not without its moments, including some solid rushing defense and awareness of several reverse plays run by the offense. True freshman Carlos Williams, who signed as a tight end, has been making a bid to play defensive end and worked with the second unit in the absence of UA starter Eli Wnek, who's out for at least a month with a stress fracture in his right foot.
"Coach Mac Duff is doing a great job of putting it all together on defense and getting everything in place," Mackovic said. "He covers all of the bases, and I have a great deal of confidence in him. If something is not right, he will get on it right away, identify the problem and get it fixed. He brings a certain kind of intensity to that side of the ball."
Johnson, combined with passing drills Thursday night, has completed 11-of-18 throws for 231 yards and two scores in the last two practices. Watkins (9-of-13, 127) and Rattay (8-of-10, 97 yards, 2 interceptions) also have been making bids.
Sophomore defensive back Danny Perry suffered apparent ligament damage in his right knee Thursday night and appears to be out for several months. He lettered as a true freshman in 2000 on special teams.
Mackovic ordered a prohibition of "jawing" after Thursday's practice, saying, "There's a difference between enthusiasm and (talking). We want to be a team with pride, composure and enthusiasm. We'll play with class, play hard and demand intensity and excitement. But it's not a game of personal satisfaction -- it's a great team game."
The Cats practice in pads at 8:55 a.m. Saturday at the camp's Rincon Vista facility and also will hold an evening session there at 7:55 p.m., likely in half pads and shorts.