Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Cats Ready For Final Open Scrimmage
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: August 19, 2006
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TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The University of Arizona football team held its final regular practice of Fall Camp on Friday evening at the Rincon Vista Complex.


Donning only shoulder pads and helmets, the players spent the two and a half hour practice working through individual, special teams, 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.


“It’s been a good camp,” head coach Mike Stoops said following the workout. “We’ve made a lot of good improvement.”


The team spent its 7-on-7 passing segment working on red zone situations. Willie Tuitama and the first team offense had a very efficient set of plays, as the sophomore completed nine of 11 pass attempts. Adam Austin completed one of five with the second team, but did throw two passes that should have been completed.


In the 11-on-11 team drill, the defense dominated the blitz period. Tuitama’s first pass was broken up Wilrey Fontenot, after pressure forced Tuitama to step up in the pocket. After threading his next pass attempt into the hands of B.J. Dennard, Tuitama would go without a completion on his final four plays. Marcus Smith tipped a ball at the line, then Ronnie Palmer deflected the next pass, which fell just out of the reach Fontenot. On the next two plays, Lionel Dotson and Louis Holmes got to Tuitama, as each recorded a sack.


Austin completed his first pass, a 10-yard gain to Travis Bell across the middle. After an incompletion, Michael Shelton used an explosive burst to get to Austin before he even finished his drop, resulting in the play being blow dead.


The team then moved the ball into the red zone and worked with a live playclock, where the offense bounced back with much better execution. Tuitama completed nine of 10 pass attempts, including a 25-yard scoring strike to Anthony Johnson, who found space behind strong safety Michael Klyce. Later, Tuitama found Syndric Steptoe open at the 10 yard line, who then scampered into the endzone.


Austin and the second team offense were also efficient. Austin completed three of four passes, including a 12-yard fade pass to the corner of the endzone, which Dennard hauled in over Devin Ross.


Kris Heavner got reps at the end of the drill, and made the most of the opportunity, throwing a perfect fade pass to a leaping Terrell Reese, who kept both feet in bounds in the corner of the endzone.


The Wildcats also established a presence in the running game inside the redzone. Chris Henry had a couple solid gains, while Xavier Smith and Chris Jennings each punched the ball into the endzone from 10 yards out.


Tomorrow night, Arizona will host its annual Meet the Team night inside Arizona Stadium. Festivities begin at 4:30 p.m., with skills stations available for children and autograph tables set up. The open scrimmage is set to begin at approximately 6:30 p.m. Concessions and free parking will be available.


“We’re going to work on a lot of game situations,” Stoops explained about the scrimmage. “We’re going to simulate things as closely as possible to an actual game, with the play clock and some of the new rules.”


“We’re going to really emphasize the three backs (Henry, Smith and Jennings),” Stoops added. “We want to see how our kids react in game situations.”


Notes and Quotes: Tomorrow evening’s scrimmage will conclude Fall Camp for the Wildcats, who have worked out 18 times in 16 days ... Stoops said that the team will spend a few days next week continuing to brush up on fundamentals, before then turning the focus over to the BYU Cougars, who Arizona opens the 2006 season with on Sept. 2 in Arizona Stadium ... The August 8th practice, which was cut short after an hour due to severe thunderstorms in the area, has been the only Fall Camp practice affected by monsoon thunderstorms ... Terrell Reese and Devin Ross, who missed practices on Thursday, were dressed out and practiced with the team. Cory Elmore, D’aundre Reed and Derke Robinson were not dressed out with the team, for apparent NCAA Clearinghouse issues. Coach Stoops again did not elaborate on their status saying, “It’s a never ending process. We don’t have any control over these things. I can only coach the guys who are out here.” ... Earl Mitchell, an H-back who has turned heads throughout camp for his ability and willingness to block as well as catch passes, says he enjoys assuming the physical role he is expected to bring to the offense. “I like lead blocking. It’s my thing. I’ve been called an offensive lineman sometimes.” ... Perhaps the player who has had the best camp is wide receiver Anthony Johnson. Said coach Stoops, “A.J. has had the best camp since he’s been here.” ... Running back coach Casey Dunn has been impressed with junior college transfer Chris Jennings, who has been receiving carries behind Chris Henry and Xavier Smith. Said Dunn, “(The running back positions) is a lot more competitive. Chris brings a lot of energy and competition to the position, which we need.”

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