Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Good, Clean Scrimmage Pleases Cats
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: August 13, 2006
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TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The University of Arizona football team held its first open scrimmage of fall camp on Saturday night in front of an estimated 1,500 fans at Arizona Stadium.The scrimmage, which lasted about an hour and a half, consisted of approximately 90 plays, including special teams work.


“Overall, I thought it was a pretty good scrimmage,” head coach Mike Stoops said. “I think we’re ahead of where we have been in years past, but we have a long ways to go.”


The offense came out and grabbed some early momentum thanks to the arm of Willie Tuitama and the hands of Syndric Steptoe. On the second play from scrimmage, Tuitama hit the senior wide receiver for a gain of 14 yards. Two plays later, the duo connected again, this time picking up 12 yards. Facing third and three, Tuitama dropped back to pass, but his throw was batted down in the flat by Louis Holmes.


With the ball on the 42 yard line, the coaches sent Nick Folk out to attempt the field. After hitting from nearly 70 yards in warmups, the senior place kicker drilled the 59-yard attempt, getting the offense on the board (no official scoring) and the crowd on its feet.


Adam Austin brought the second string offense out for the next series, and completed short passes to Ryan Kilpatrick and Delashaun Dean to pick up a first down. After getting stuffed for no gain on first down, Chris Jennings out-raced the defense down the right sideline for a first-down gain of 12 yards, and an extra 15 yards were tacked on for a face mask penalty by the defense.


The defense would settle in after that, however. With the offense going for it on fourth down, freshman corner back Michael Turner broke up an Austin pass attempt, turning back the offense.


After that, the defense would dominate the next four series’, including forcing Tuitama and the offense to go three-and-out on the sophomore’s second drive. Remaining on the field, Tuitama looked to force a ball downfield, but senior strong safety Michale Johnson made an athletic interception, and returned it 30 yards down the sideline.


A couple drives later, Austin took over the controls again, leading the offense on its best drive of the day to that point. Facing a third-and-six situation, Austin found Anthony Johnson for a pickup of 15 yards to keep the drive alive. Three plays later, Austin used his feet to avoid pressure and pick up a short gain, good enough for a first down. Facing yet another third down play, Austin looked across the middle to Dean, who made a tough catch in traffic for a 19 yard gain.


Inside the red zone, the offense turned to the ground game. Brandon Lopez picked up a tough two yards on third down, the fourth third down conversion of the drive, setting the table for Glyndon Bolasky. Bolasky took the hand off and scampered untouched 12 yards into the endzone for the first touchdown of the evening.


Later, Tuitama and the first team offense would get on the board. After a Brandyn McCall 12 yard reception kept the drive going, Xavier Smith found some holes behind the offensive line. Smith picked up gains of 10 and 13 yards on back-to-back plays, then added another 10 yard run to put the offense in prime scoring position. With the ball on the seven yard line, Tuitama checked out of the play and hit Anthony Johnson on a slant route in the endzone.


The offense and defense then began working exclusively in red zone situations, with each drive starting at the 25 yard line. The defene forced a three-and-out on the first such series, as Tuitama was sacked by Spencer Larsen and Yaniv Barnett on third and long.


On the next series, Larsen stuffed Jennings at the line of scrimmage on third and a yard, setting up a fourth and one. The offense ran Smith up the middle, but he was met at the line of scrimmage by Lionel Dotson and Barnett, turning the offense away again.


The defense kept the pressure on, as Austin took over at quarterback again. Consecutive completions to Terrell Turner resulted in a first down, but that’s all the offense could muster once again. Ricky Elmore picked up his second of three sacks on the evening on second down, leaving the offense in a third and long situation. Looking to find Dean on a slant, Austin’s pass was picked off by linebacker Xavier Kelley.


The offense came back out for one final series, and made the most of it. Wasting no time, Tuitama fired a strike to McCall down the middle of the field and in the endzone for a 25 yard scoring strike to cap the scrimmage.


The Wildcats will get to rest up tomorrow, but will be back out on the practice field on Monday for two practices. The team is scheduled to practice at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the Rincon Vista Complex. Practices are open to the media and public unless otherwise noted, but all times and locations are subject to change.




Head coach Mike Stoops


On the scrimmage: “I thought we played well overall. I liked our focus and intensity. We came out of it healthy, which is a big thing for us right now.”


On the offensive line: “Obviously we are without some of our guys right now. We need to get everyone back and healthy for the opener, that’s when we need them. I think we’ll have two or three of them back next week, hopefully.”


On the three freshmen WR’s: “The three young wide receivers look fantastic. You can see that they are all athletic. They have got to keep working and getting better.”


On Willie Tuitama: “I have great confidence in Willie. Overall, he’s playing the best I’ve ever seen him play. It’s not even close to where he was a year ago.”


On freshman CB’s Devin Ross and Mike Turner: “Mike and Devin have both played exceptional in camp. They are both extremely talented.”


On DE Louis Holmes: “Louis has great talent. He is getting better and better. He’s different than what I thought he would be. He’s a very conscientious and passionate player. He is very meticulous and wants to do well.”


Offensive coordinator Mike Canales


On the offensive execution in the scrimmage: “We had no fumbles tonight, but what’s better than that, we only had one procedure penalty. Those are the things that are important to me.”


On the two INTs thrown: “It’s just guys trying to make big plays. It’s okay. They are just decisions that we can correct.”


On the improvement of the offense: “You know, after two years of watching us, now you can really see that we’re going somewhere. I really like what I have seen. We’ve got a ways to go still, but we’re getting a lot better.”


Quarterback Willie Tuitama


On his performance: “I thought it was great except for the pick. We have run that play three times in practice and it’s gone for a touchdown every time. I think they (defense) were cheating a bit.”


On his two touchdown passes: “On the touchdown by A.J. (Anthony Johnson), It was just a great catch. I believe they blitzed on that play, and A.J. ran a hot route and made the catch. On the other one, Brandyn (McCall) was just wide open.”


Running Back Glyndon Bolasky


On his first full-contact action as a Wildcat: “It’s awesome. We’ve been going like three-quarters spend and no take-downs in practice. This was my first time to experience this at the Division I level. It’s a lot of fun.”


Running Back Xavier Smith


On ball security: “We’ve been working on making sure there are no fumbles. We’ve been spending time on making sure our minds are focused. We have to keep the ball in our possession.”




PASSING (28-42-221yards, 2 TD, 2 INT):

Tuitama 13-19-117yds, 2 TD, INT; Austin 14-21-89yds, INT; Heavner 1-2-15yds


RUSHING (25-105yards, TD ?- sacks not included)

X. Smith 7-49yds; Jennings 5-14yds; Bolasky 4-14yds, TD; Henry 4-10yds; Longbons 3-18yds; Lopez 1-2yds; Robinson 1-0yds; Steptoe 1-(-2)



Steptoe 4-40yds; Dean 4-34yds; McCall 3-50yds, TD; Johnson 3-24yds, TD; Reese 3-15yds; Henry 2-10yds; Turner 2-10yds; Thomas 2-9yds; Kilpatrick 2-7yds; Dennard 1-15yds; Bolasky 1-6yds; Mitchell 1-6yds 




 Nick Folk: Made ?- 37, 39, 43, 45; Missed - 35                              Bondzio: Made ?- 42


Folk- Made 59; 1-1 PATs


PUNTING (No Returns):

McQuown - 3-136, Ave: 45.3, Long: 52; Crier - 2-86, Ave: 43, Long: 46



Larsen 5; Krogstad 4.5; McCovy 4.5; Nelson 4.5; R. Elmore 4; M. Turner 4; Tatum 4; Klyce 3.5; Ross 3; Hollingsworth 2.5; Patrick 2.5; Barnett 2; Johnson 2; Kelley 1.5; J. Turner 1.5; McKinney 1.5; Ness 1; Amituanai 1; Dotson 1; Phillipp 1; Horton 1; Bertrand 1; Alford 0.5; Hall 0.5; Markovich 0.5; Fontenot 0.5; M. Smith 0.5



R. Elmore 3; Horton 1; Larsen 0.5; Barnett 0.5



Elmore 3; Horton 1; Patrick 1; McKinney 1; Dotson 0.5; Barnett 1; Larsen 0.5



Johnson -1; Kelley - 1



 M Turner 2; Holmes 1; Klyce 1; M. Smith 1; Phillipp 1; Nelson 1



 Offense: 1-5

Defense: 1-15


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