Aug. 11, 2001
TUCSON - The look and feel of Arizona football training camp changed Saturday as the team began practicing in full pads for the first time a week into drills.
"We finally had a decent day of weather. It was a good day for us, and it was our first day in full pads. The players have to get used to carrying the pads because when you're in full pads, things change. Some carried their pads better than others," Arizona head coach John Mackovic said.
Junior quarterback Jason Johnson noticed the difference. "The first day in pads is always exciting. It gave us a chance to do some things a bit more realistically. We worked on goal-line rushing, one area in which we need to improve - when we get in the scoring zone we need to punch it in," he said.
"This was one step. The first game is not tomorrow, but it's not far off. I think you'll see each day that we take a step forward," Johnson said.
In full-line short-yardage drills, success in the morning practice was split about evenly between offense and defense. The probable top two halfbacks, Clarence Farmer and Leo Mills, gained half a dozen tough yards each about as many carries, while freshman Mike Bell and redshirt freshman Tremaine Cox managed some carries well beyond the line. The offense was hit with six false start penalties in that session and the goal-line period.
"The players were a little jumpy up front, so we have to improve on the penalties. We work hard in the mornings on our run game, and we had some guys who were too anxious to block on the run," Mackovic added.
In the goal-line period, the offense had some bright spots in a dozen tries at a score from three yards out. Farmer broke through the defense for scores twice, Mills made one scoring run, and Johnson completed a pass to tight end Justin Levasseur for another.
In skeleton passing drills, Johnson completed 5-of-6 passes for 42 yards, sophomore Cliff Watkins was 2-of-6 for short yardage, and redshirt freshman John Rattay was 4-of-5 with a dropped ball for 60 yards. The leading receiver on the day was Bobby Wade with three catches in live drills.