Aug. 21, 2001
TUCSON - Arizona's final fall football scrimmage left head coach John Mackovic in a positive mood after the team's 95-minute workout under the lights in Arizona Stadium had some good efforts by key Wildcats.
The team appeared to avoid a serious scare when defensive tackle Austin Uku, in a battle for a starting role with Johnny Jackson, went down with a knee injury part of the way through the action. Mackovic said later the initial examination revealed a likely mild sprain in Uku's left knee and that he could be ready for the Cats' opener at San Diego State Aug. 30. The position has been in some flux since graduate defensive end Eli Wnek injured a foot prior to fall camp and will likely miss at least a month, and promising redshirt freshman Fata Avegalio has been out of drills a couple of days after banging his head on a play late last week.
"That's one reason I like to scrimmage nine days out, just for a case like (Uku's injury). It will give Austin two extra days to recover," Mackovic said.
Junior quarterback Jason Johnson completed seven of 12 passes for 109 yards and a 38-yard touchdown to Malosi Leonard, and had one pass dropped by Leonard plus threw away his first attempt after reading coverage. Johnson took the first unit on a long scoring drive against the No. 2 defense, a 10-play, 96-yard march capped by the throw to Leonard.
"The offense improved a little bit, but our defense didn't," Mackovic said afterward. "It was back and forth, though." The defense stiffened on some of the short-yardage, 5-yards-and-in scrimmaging toward the end of the session. "We went down the goal line and gave it a go, something we haven't done much of yet," Mackovic said.
Mackovic said the offensive units' successful efforts in the scrimmage could be credited to improvement in the timing-oriented aspect of his multiple-pro system. "We need more of that. The quarterbacks also did a better job of getting back off the line of scrimmage more quickly, and that gave them time (for better reads)," he said.
Halfback Clarence Farmer continued to impress, with nine rushes for 50 yards and two touchdowns, one in goal-line action, plus caught a screen pass from Johnson and weaved for 28 yards. "Clarence is a big-time back. he likes to have the ball. He also can block and catch the ball," Mackovic said.
UA's other top halfback, Leo Mills, carried six times for 50 yards and had touchdown runs of nine and 11 yards, plus a long rush of 18 yards. Redshirt freshman back Tremaine Cox, who has been working at both halfback and fullback, rushed twice for 50 yards, thanks to a 46-yard effort, and had two other rushes of more than 12 yards called back because of penalties. "We're going to count on him a lot," Mackovic said.
The Cats had 10 offensive penalties and three by the defense. One offsides call wiped out an interception by nickel back Clay Hardt after the pass from John Rattay was tipped by free safety Jarvie Worcester. That was the only interception of the scrimmage, though the offense did cough up a ball in goal-line when linebacker Pat Howard forced a fumble recovered by cornerback David Hinton.
"The reason for the penalties was sloppiness," Mackovic said. "No matter how tired you get, you have to push and stay (sharp). We did some extra running this week to work on conditioning, and we did some things tonight to re-create tiredness," he said, noting that practice will ease up Friday and the Cats begin game-week on Sunday.
Arizona practices Wednesday through Friday in the afternoon, then takes a day off Saturday before commencing game-week preparations Sunday for the early contest Thursday, Aug. 30, at San Diego State. The game will be cablecast nationally on ESPN2.
Jason Johnson: 7-12-109-0-1, long pass of 38 yards to Malosi Leonard
Cliff Wtkins: 6-12-100-0-2, long pass of 44 yards to Brandon Marshall
John Rattay: 1-6-23-0-0, long pass of 23 yards to Nick Fleury
Nic Costa: 1-2-20-0-0, long pass of 20 to Todd Voll
Clarence Farmer: 9-50, 2 TD, long run of 11 yards, Leo Mills: 6-50, 2 TD, long run of 18 yards, Tremaine Cox: 2-50, Mike Bell: 6-7, fumble, Mike Detwiler: 2-4, Sean Jones: 2-8, Gainus Scott: 8-25, Nick Fleury: 1-(-5), Nic Costa: 2-2, TD
Malosi Leonard 2-57, TD, Nick Fleury 2-45, Clarence Farmer 2-20, Brandon Marshall 1-44, Ricky Williams 1-25, Todd Voll 1-20, Justin Levasseur 1-21, Sean Jones 1-15, Andrae Thurman 1-10, Peter Hansen 1-1, Jeff Wilk 1-1, Gens Goodman 1-(-6).
Sean Keel: 27 good, 47, 28 misses, Bobby Gill: 35, 34, 42 all good, Gens Goodman: 36, 38, 40 all good, 46 miss.
Vince Feula-4, Zaharius Johnson-3, Anthony Thomas-2 TFL, 1 sack, Clay Hardt-3, 1 TFL, Johnny Bailey-3, Justin Jochum-4, Mike LaCoss-4, Carlos Williams-2, Austin Uku-2, Pat Howard-2, John Abramo-2, Scott McKee-2, Darrell Brooks-2, Nick McCalmont-2.
Jarvie Worcester, Brandon Nash, Carlos Williams, Jermaine Chatman, Ray Wells, all 1 each.