Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Back on Track, Two-a-Days Loom for Cats
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: August 10, 2006
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TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The University of Arizona completed its sixth practice of Fall Camp in its entirety, Thursday night at the Rincon Vista Complex.


Earlier in the day, head coach Mike Stoops and his staff made the decision to bump up practice to a 4:30 p.m start, in attempt to dodge evening monsoon thunderstorms such as the ones that hammered the Tucson area the night before, causing practice to be called after only 50 minutes.


“It seems with the weather pattern that the storms have been coming in later,” the third year head coach said following practice. “It was good to get a full practice in. We need to start working more on some of our situational stuff. I think we got caught up tonight.”


While isolated thunderstorms initially seemed threatening around the area, skies remained mostly cloudy with rather cool and breezy conditions prevailing for much of the two and a half hour workout. The conditions allowed the Wildcats to complete their regular daily schedule, including the 7-on-7 and 11-on11 segments the team could not get in the night before.


During the 7-on-7 skeleton passing drill, sophomore quarterback Willie Tuitama completed six of 10 passes, including two to classmate Mike Thomas, which would have resulted in first down gains. Senior Adam Austin completed three of seven attempts, including the longest pass play of the drill, a 15-plus yard completion to running back Chris Henry. Junior cornerback Antoine Cason recorded one pass breakup.


The 11-on-11 team segment to close practice was one of the most evenly-matched of camp so far. The defense started off strong, allowing a couple small gains by Henry on the ground, and forced two early incompletions from Tuitama.


Austin and the second team offense then entered at quarterback, and the defense ramped up the pressure even more. Redshirt fresman Donlad Horton and true freshman Mana Mikaele both got pressure up the middle, resulting in Austin’s first play being blown down, essentially a sack for the defense.


The offense got more of a rhythm going in Tuitama’s second set of plays, thanks to a fortuitous bounce. Looking to hit tight end Brandyn McCall near the sideline, the ball was deflected up into the air and right into the arms of a diving Earl Mitchell. On the next play, Tuitama hit senior Syndric Steptoe for a sure gain of 10 yards, but the play had potential to go much farther had it not been whistled dead upon the catch. On the ensuing play, Tuitama dropped back and threaded a pass between safety Michael Johnson and corner Wilrey Fontenot, hitting Anthony Johnson on a post pattern for a gain of nearly 25 yards.


The defense buckled back down after that, led by Horton making his second big play defensively, batting down a Tuitama pass. Adam Austin then entered for his second set of plays, but the second team defense refused to let its guard down. Defensive end Louis Holmes got pressure from Austin’s right side, forcing him up and the pocket. He forced his pass downfield, where it was tipped by linebacker Xavier Kelley up into the air and into the hands of defensive back Cam Nelson.


A few plays later, the “one’s” for both the offense and defense returned. Tuitama wasted no time attacking the defense, connecting with Anthony Johnson again for a 25-yard pickup, virtually the same play the two connected on earlier in the segment. Two passes later Tuitama fired a pass to Thomas on slant route, who held onto the ball despite very tight coverage by Antoine Cason.


Tuitama finished the drill four of eight passing, while Austin completed one of three. In the running game, Henry, Xaiver Smith and Terry Longbons each received three carries. Junior college transfer Chris Jennings carried two times.


The team will be back in action with its first two-a-day practice tomorrow. The morning practice is scheduled for 8 a.m. at the Rincon Vista Complex, while the evening workout is still slated for 6 p.m.


“Two-a-days are easy compared to when we had them,” Stoops said with a laugh, referring to NCAA rules which limit the number of two-a-day practices teams may hold. “The important thing is we need to keep focusing and take things one practice at a time. Our kids should be strong and healthy.”


Both the morning and evening sessions are open to the media and public tomorrow. Practice times and locations are subject to change due to weather or field conditions.


NOTES: Wednesday’s practice was initially schedule to start at 6 p.m. ... Approximately 50 fans attended the workout ... It was the Wildcats’ first complete practice in full pads, after only getting 50 minutes of work in on Tuesday ... Sophomore wide receiver Terrell Reese, who had a reception during the 11-on-11 segment, is one of three freshmen at the position who are contending for playing time this fall. One of the things he has noticed is the level of talent in the secondary he is going up against on a daily basis. “I like the fact I’m going up against guys of their caliber in camp. It will better prepare me for the season.” ... Junior college transfer Louis Holmes was allowed to don full gear for the first time, after being cleared for practice a day later than the rest of the team. He has adjusted nicely in his five practices. He is challenging for time at defensive end. “It’s been fun so far,” he said. “It’s been a good learning experience.” ... Head coach mike Stoops has been pleased with the progress of his three freshmen defensive backs thus far in camp. Cam Nelson, Michael Turner and Devin Ross each have worked out at corner with the second team defense, although Stoops mentioned that Nelson will likely eventually move to safety.


Below: Some action from Tuesday’s abbreviated practice.


LB Adrian McCovy DE Jason Parker DE Michael Shelton
Casey Dunn and Eric Wolford TE Ryan Kilpatrick RB Derke Robinson


Remaining Fall Football Practice Schedule


Thursday           Aug. 10      8 a.m., 6 p.m.

Friday                 Aug. 11      6 p.m.

Saturday            Aug. 12      8 a.m., 6 p.m.

Sunday              Aug. 13      --

Monday              Aug. 14      8 a.m., 6:15 p.m.

Tuesday             Aug. 15      5:45 p.m.

Wednesday       Aug. 16      8 a.m., 6:15 p.m.

Thursday           Aug. 17      5:45 p.m.

Friday                 Aug. 18      8 a.m., 6:15 p.m.

Saturday            Aug. 19      Meet the Team,

                                             Evening scrimmage

Monday              Aug. 21      Classes begin

Monday              Aug. 28      Mike Stoops’

                                             weekly news conference

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