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?Great? First Day Opens Fall Camp for Cats
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 08/04/2006
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TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The University of Arizona football team opened up its 2006 Fall Camp with a spirited two and a half hour practice at the Rincon Vista Complex on Thursday night.

 

“It was good to get started again,” third year head coach Mike Stoops said following the workout. “It was a great first day. The guys were really energized.”

 

Early afternoon thunderstorms gave way to calm, but overcast skies and cool temperatures in the evening, allowing for conditions to feel more like the first week of October rather than the early days of August. The Wildcats themselves also looked to be in midseason form, wasting no time getting into regular season drills.

 

The team began practice with an hour of individual and group drills, followed by a special teams segment. The offense and defense then squared off against one-another for the final hour, in both seven-on-seven drills and a half-hour team segment. 

 

“I liked our tempo and our attitude,” Stoops added. “I just liked the way we took the field. You can tell our kids did a lot of work over the summer.

 

“We obviously wanted to pick up where we left off. This is our third year, so we don’t really have to go back to the basics. We had a big percentage of our offense in today. I liked our execution.”

 

Sophomore quarterback Willie Tuitama, who completed eight of 15 passes during the team segment, also noticed a difference in the first day compared to a year ago.

 

“Last year, things were kind of slow the first day,” the signal caller noted. “Today, everyone was really flying around and having

Mike Stoops at the first practice of camp
fun.”

 

Junior linebacker Spencer Larsen was quick to point out that Thursday’s practice was only the first of many before the team’s opener against BYU on Sept. 2.

 

“We had a lot of emotion out there today,” the Gilbert, Ariz., native said. “The big thing will be putting together two and three straight days of this, especially when it gets hot. Anyone can come out and have one great day in this weather.”

 

The Wildcats will be back at it again tomorrow at 6 p.m., at the Rincon Vista Complex. Practices are open to fans and media, and all practice times and locations are subject to change due to weather and field conditions.

 

NOTES: After threatening skies and rain moved into the area in the afternoon, the Wildcats couldn’t have asked for a better evening with overcast skies, a slight breeze and temperatures in the upper 70s. Practice began right on time and was completed uninterrupted, making Coach Stoops a perfect one-for-one this fall in scheduling around Tucson’s monsoon thunderstorms. Last year, the Wildcats were able to work in every single practice around the tricky forecasts ... The team practiced only in helmets, with the offense wearing white jerseys and the defense donning blue tops ... Approximately 75 fans showed up to get their first look at the Wildcats since the Spring Game back in April, when 8,400 fans filled the east side of Arizona Stadium ... Tuitama looked sharp all day, including completing eight of 10 passes in 7-on-7’s. During the team segment, he connected with classmate Mike Thomas for two completions of about 20 yards. Later, he found a rhythm with Phoenix native B.J. Dennard. Said Tuitama of the junior WR, “B.J. really showed up big today.” ... During the special teams segment, the team worked on its punt cover unit, with junior Kyle McQuown handling the punting duties. Syndric Steptoe, B.J. Dennard, Mike Thomas and freshman Devin Ross each worked out returning kicks ... During the team segment to close practice, which featured primarily pass plays, Jason Parker recorded 1 ?˝ sacks, while Lionel Dotson picked up a half sack. Sophomore Johnathon Turner also got pressure on the quarterback, breaking up a Tuitama pass and forcing an incompletion ... Junior college transfer Nate Ness intercepted a pass during 7-on-7s ... Adam Austin spelled Tuitama throughout the evening and impressed the coaching staff with his ability to make plays and his knowledge of the system ... During the 7-on-7 passing segment, freshman Tyler Lyon threw three passes, completing two for short gains.
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