TUCSON--Mike Stoops' annual football coaches clinic will culminate Saturday with some live scrimmaging in Arizona Stadium. The event is open to the public, at 10 a.m.
It will be the first public view of the 2008 club after two weeks of spring ball -- sandwiched around Spring Break.
"We've been working hard in practice sessions and now we need to see some more live-action drills," head coach Stoops said. "I like the way our team is developing and look forward to checking the progress with this kind of workout," he said. "The stadium always makes it seem different."
Cameras can?make coaches leery, so spectators are asked to leave theirs at home. Stoops has opened spring practice to the media this year, with some?limits on videography and photography, and the usual guidelines to keep some details as team-only items. It's been a smooth process.
So, too, has the team's general progress, notably in the second year of the spread offense under coordinator Sonny Dykes, and on defense where coordinator Mark Stoops is having to rebuild a unit that lost eight starters from a year ago.
The first day back from the Spring Break?was a bit harder on the offensive coaches, whose charges require some split-second timing and slick execution to look sharp. "We got set up," said running backs and tight ends coach Dana Dimel. "Those guys (defensive staff) are all happy and smiling; we didn't look so good," he noted after drills earlier this week. "They knew it would be that way."
Stoops and staff should have?the team run about 80 plays on Saturday, plus some work by the kickers.
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Some Cats Who Need to?Lead in '08
Senior wide receiver Mike Thomas
had 83 catches last year
Willie Tuitama led the Pac-10?with?28
touchdown throws as a junior. He said he
expects to top his 3,600 yards in '07
TE Rob Gronkowski?has All-American
talent and needs to get more balls
thrown his way after snagging 28 for
six scores in his freshman season
Junior offensive tackle Eben Britton
will anchor one of the Cats' strongest units
Keenyn Crier led the Pac-10 in punting
as a freshman in 2007 with a 43.7 yard
average. His consistency will be a key
Jason Bondzio hit 21 of 26 field goals and
was an adept specialist on kickoffs in
his first year of action as a junior
Safety Nate Ness will be called on to help
solidify a secondary without Antoine Cason
for the first time in four years
Junior receiver Terrell Turner caught 50
balls in '07 and is?expected to be a big
part of the attack in 2008
Earl Mitchell moved to defensive tackle
from tight end in hopes his athletic talent
will have more impact in 2008
Senior LB Ronnie Palmer (33) will have
to step up his leadership with starters
Spencer Larsen and Dane Krogstad gone