April 3, 2002
TUCSON - Wildcat head football coach John Mackovic praised his team for a solid performance in its 13th practice of spring football, which culminates at 1 p.m. Saturday in the annual Spring Game.
"This was a great practice," he said of Wednesday's drills in shorts on the Cats' practice field.
"We were able to run some two-minute offense, some two-minute defense, some screens and draws... I thought the team did a terrific job working together. The players appear to have a good mind set. That's encouraging," he said.
The club practices Thursday in "shells" or half-pads, then hits Arizona Stadium at 1 p.m. Saturday for the Spring game. The team will be divided in two, with a Red squad and a Blue squad headed by the top quarterbacks, senior returning starter Jason Johnson and redshirt freshman contender Nic Costa.
When asked which players to watch in the scrimmage, Mackovic offered: "I'd be watching Costa and redshirt freshman halfbacks Gainus Scott and Mike Bell. On defense, there are a number of people like (redshirt freshman tackle) Brad Brittain and (sophomore tackle) Carlos Williams, plus the Kat safeties." The latter position is being contented for by junior Clay Hardt, sophomore Tony Wingate and junior Anthony Fulcher.
UA defensive coordinator Larry Mac Duff said after practice that the defensive staff is looking to field a competitive group that might be more flexible than the 2001 unit. Much as offensive coaches used a large group of skill-position players on the perimeter, Mac Duff said "we want to find about 17 guys who can play a role on our defense, whether a player is more suited to run support, pass rush, pass coverage or whatever." Part of spring efforts have focused on determining which players will fit in the Cats' base defense, or several specific coverage schemes.
Mackovic said the scrimmage will give coaches a final chance to look for players to perform at their level -- "or boost it up. Who can raise their performance, like they'd have to in a game."
Notes... The head coach was knocked down by senior defensive tackle Young Thompson during a pass-rush drill, and suffered a bump on his head... Saturday's scrimmage will have no live kicking per se, such as punts to result in fair catches... Prior to the Spring Game, the UA athletics department is holding a Pigskin Pigout, with free food. Information can be found elsewhere on this web site...