TUCSON, Ariz. -- University of Arizona head football coach Mike Stoops and staff have announced the tentative 2005 spring football practice schedule, culminating in the annual Spring Game in Arizona Stadium on April 23.
Teams are permitted 15 practice sessions during the spring. The coaching staff will work with a nucleus of about 80 players including 36 returning lettermen evenly split with 17 on offense, 17 on defense and two kickers.
New on the scene is 2002 Heisman Trophy finalist Josh Heupel, a former Oklahoma Sooner Stoops brought on board to coach tight ends. Heupel was a graduate assistant at OU last year and begins his first season as a full time coach.
The Wildcat coaches return the entire starting secondary on defense, a unit that could be considered one of the team's strongest. However, starting free safety Darrell Brooks will be sidelined for much of spring ball after shoulder surgery in the offseason. Other returnees in the backfield include senior strong safety Lamon Means and sophomores to be Antoine Cason and Wilrey Fontenot at the corners.
Junior college transfers could make an impact . Stoops signed safety Michael Johnson, tight end Brandyn McCall, fullback/H-back Paul Nichols, wide receiver B.J. Vickers and defensive tackle Byron Smith, plus returns sophomore linebacker Spencer Larsen after a two-year hiatus serving a Mormon mission in Chile.
Spring practices generally will be closed to the public although some scrimmage action will be open, including the Spring Game.