Aug. 5, 2011
TUCSON, Ariz. - The Wildcats hit the field bright and early on Friday morning for the second two-hour workout of the still young 2011 Arizona football training camp. While the scheduled drills and practice segments remained the same as Thursday's debut, there was a noticeable increase in the intensity on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
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During the first two days of camp, players are only permitted to wear helmets, which limit the amount of contact during practice. That will change on Saturday morning when the Wildcats don shoulder pads for the first time and the pads begin to pop. But even so, Friday morning's workout had the feel of a full-contact practice from an intensity standpoint.
After a half-hour of individual drills to open practice, the offense and defense came together for a 10-minute inside running game period. Each side enjoyed some success, with the offense finding some running room and the defense plugging up their own share of holes.
Arizona's offensive and defensive fronts each have new looks to them this year. Offensively, center Kyle Quinn is the only player who has started a game (2010 Alamo Bowl). Defensively, the Wildcats are replacing both starting defensive ends and the nose tackle. Fortunately, plenty of talent is emerging on both sides.
Two of the early standouts in camp have been senior defensive ends C.J. Parish and Mohammed Usman. Both have provided edge pressure during team drills, while tackles Justin Washington and Sione Tuihalamaka have helped establish a push on the interior. Two redshirt freshmen tackles - Kirifi Taula and Aiulua Fanene - have also stood out in stopping the run.
Meanwhile, redshirt freshmen Mickey Baucus and Fabiens Ebbele have anchored the left and right tackle positions, respectively with the first-teamers. Another redshirt freshmen - Trent Spurgeon - and junior Shane Zink are also pushing at tackle. Sophomore Chris Putton and junior Trace Biskin have provided leadership at the guard spots. Freshman Carter Lees and sophomore Eric Bender-Ramsey are challenging for their own spots at the guard positions.
Elsewhere, the competition across the board is promising, too. The combination of skill position talent on offense an experienced secondary back for exciting challenges in passing situations. The one-on-one battles are sure to carry on throughout camp.
In the 11-on-11 team period, each side saw its share of success. Quarterbacks Nick Foles and Bryson Beirne completed 11-of-16 passes for 70 yards, while the defense tallied a trio of sacks. Parish registered 1.5 sacks, while Usman tallied one and Fanene chipped in with Parish for a half-sack.
The practice ended with a two-minute drill. After being turned away on downs on Thursday, the offense answered with a score to end Friday's action. Receiver Dan Buckner hauled in a 30-yard scoring toss that prompted cheers from the entire offensive team wearing white jerseys before the final horn of the day.
On Saturday, Arizona will again practice in the morning at the Rincon Vista Complex, before heading back to campus for position meetings and a photo day.
Arizona football season tickets and flex packs are on sale now. Be sure to check out everydownbeardown.com for an interactive ticket promotion that includes video highlights, ticket information and seating diagrams.
Wildcat Club members and season ticket holders will have the opportunity to purchase individual game tickets before the general public. Wildcat Club members can purchase starting on Saturday, Aug. 6. Season ticket holders can purchase starting on Aug. 10. Visit everydownbeardown.com for all the details.