Aug. 8, 2011
TUCSON, Ariz. - Five full days into its preseason training camp, the Arizona football team strapped on full pads for the first time in a two-hour practice at the Rincon Vista Complex on Monday morning.
The mood at Monday's workout was quite workmanlike, neither particularly chipper nor cheerless. Instead, it was the onset of the sometimes uneventful second week of camp when players and coaches must fight off the repetitiveness that can cause disinterest on the field.
Mostly, drills and techniques remain the same as the opening day of camp last Thursday. That's the tedious part of camp. But coaches have kept things fresh as they tinker with personnel and schemes to find the best fits for the talent on the field.
Repetitions in drills are spread evenly across first and second-teamers, as well as scout team players and others fighting to crack the depth chart. Scrimmage action in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 segments focuses primarily on the first and second units, where the defense has enjoyed a slight advantage through the first days of camp.
The offense has had its share of moments, though, as the unit finds the best ways to get the ball to the gaggle of play-making skill players. Offensive coordinator Seth Littrell and his staff are sifting through the options each day, checking off and crossing off what does work and what doesn't work.
Veteran quarterbacks who can make quick decisions and adjustments make the whole process easier. Quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo has a deep group of signal callers that serve as on-field coaches with the rest of the offense. It's leadership that is much-welcomed in the huddle, especially as a new-look offensive line continues to settle in.
On Tuesday, competition is sure to ramp up as the team scrimmages for the first time in camp. The live scrimmage action will be a good barometer of the team's strengths and weakness to this point, and what must be worked on once the team arrives at Fort Huachuca for the first two-a-day practice on Thursday.
By the time the team returns from Fort Huachuca next Monday, the season opener will be less than three weeks away. That's when the depth chart and playbooks truly begin to take shape as workouts become more specific in nature.
Until then, coaches are looking for continued progress each day while keeping players healthy. The grinding nature of preseason camp still looms, but after five days it appears to be "so far, so good" for the Wildcats.
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