TUCSON, Ariz. - The dog days of summer are a thing of the past for the Arizona football team. The Wildcats opened their annual preseason training camp with a two-hour practice at the Rincon Vista Complex on Thursday morning, dusting off practice jerseys and helmets for the first time since the Spring Game in April.
For the most part, it was business as usual for Head Coach Mike Stoops, staff and players. Entering his eighth season, Stoops has instilled a strong foundation for the program which allows spring and preseason practices to run like regular season sessions. Even so, there are plenty of new faces - freshmen, transfers and walk-ons - each year that get their first taste of Pac-12 football.
Video Quick Take With Stoops
Senior quarterbacks Nick Foles, Matt Scott and Bryson Beirne engineered the offense, a unit loaded with veteran playmakers at the skill positions. Plenty of attention has been focused on the offensive line, which has five new full-time starters, but even that group looked crisp and cohesive on the first day of workouts.
Defensively, end Mohammed Usman shined throughout the day creating pressure off the edge. He capped the team segment of practice with a fourth down sack (no contact) of Foles in the two-minute drill. In the secondary, sophomore Jonathon McKnight intercepted a deflected pass during the period, another highlight for the defenders that donned blue jerseys.
Practice opened with a special teams segment, an area seeking to show significant improvement from a year ago. Punters, place kickers, returners, gunners and blockers all worked through various individual drills with position coaches.
Remaining items on Thursday's schedule include summer classes for players, team meals, individual position meetings and - hopefully - some rest. The rest will come in handy for Friday's practice, which is again set for a 6:15 a.m. start at the Rincon Vista Complex.
Today's practice marked the first of six straight days of single workouts scheduled at the Rincon Vista Complex through next Tuesday. The Wildcats will break on Wednesday as summer courses draw to a close, and then will head to Fort Huachuca for four days beginning on Thursday, Aug. 11.
Arizona football season tickets and flex packs are on sale now. Be sure to check out everydownbeardown.com for an interactive ticket promotion that includes video highlights, ticket information and seating diagrams.
Wildcat Club members and season ticket holders will have the opportunity to purchase individual game tickets before the general public. Wildcat Club members can purchase starting on Saturday, Aug. 6. Season ticket holders can purchase starting on Aug. 10. Visit everydownbeardown.com for all the details.