Receivers coach Darrell Wyatt running a drill Friday
The Saturday workout is from 9:45 a.m. to noon in Arizona Stadium and open to the public. Practices in spring are closed except for this weekend's drill and the annual Spring Game set for Saturday, April 14.
Friday morning coaches clinic sessions included talks by head coach Mike Stoops, defensive coorindator Mark Stoops, offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes and offensive line coach and running game coordinator Bill Bedenbaugh. UA director of football operations said attendance was the best in Stoops' tenure at Arizona.
The clinic opened Thursday evening with dinner and some brainstorming sessions led by both Stoops and Dykes, along with breakout sessions for various units. Guest speakers Friday included John Featherstone, coach at El Camino College in Torrance, Calif.; Dave Henigan, coach at Corsicana, Texas, High School; and Jim Ewan, coach at Chandler, Ariz., High School. UA director of performance enhancement, Corey Edmond, led a session with his staff Friday evening after practice, focusing on speed and functional movement work specific to football.
Arizona concludes its sixth spring practice Saturday of the allotted 15. Stoops has been effusive in his praise for the defensive unit that returns 10 starters and also encouraged by the transformation of the Wildcat offense under Dykes.
The former Texas Texas Tech co-offensive coordinator has installed the multiple spread attack which features prolific use of the forward pass. Tech, in fact, threw the ball more than 600 times in 2006 and Stoops has indicated the Cats will put it in the air 40 to 50 times per game, while retaining enough of the power game to keep a physical character rather than morph into a "finesse" team.
|Clinic coaches at practice|
|Mike Thomas in a pattern drill|
Stoops credits Dykes and the other new offensive assistants -- Bedenbaugh, passing game coordinator and receivers coach Darrell Wyatt, and running backs coach Michael Smith -- with helping the makeover a smooth process because of their experience and teaching ability.
Noteworthy changes include different schemes for the offensive line, a full package of patterns and routes for four different receiver groups, changed responsibilities for running backs, and a simplified but speedier thought process for the quarterbacks, among others. At times, UA will have five or six potential targets on passing plays.
The players are loving it. Junior receiver B.J. Dennard, cited as one of the most athletic members of the team for the past three years but not always in the mix on the field, said, "Oh, yeah... it's going to be something." He'll contend for serious playing time this year as a "small H-back," not log-jammed at one or two receiver spots as he might have been in a traditional pro-style attack.
"It's going really well," junior quarterback Willie Tuitama said. "I'm feeling more comfortable each day." Fellow junior Mike Thomas, who has 102 career receptions in his first two years, has been considering the notion he might see 100 balls thrown his way. "I'm ready," he says.