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Offense Sparks Cats in Evening Practice
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 08/18/2006
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TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The University of Arizona football team wrapped up its final two-a-day practice of Fall Camp with a spirited two and a half hour workout at the Rincon Vista Complex on Thursday evening.

 

After a lackluster performance all-around by the Wildcats in the morning session, the players were much sharper and more enthusiastic throughout the evening practice.

 

“We were flat this morning,” third year head coach Mike Stoops said after tonight’s practice. “It was not a good practice attitude-wise. Tonight was much better. We kind of hit a wall mid-week this week, but I think the guys can see the light at the end of the tunnel now. We need to get our legs back for Saturday.”

 

After a give and take morning for both the offense and the defense, the offense came out clicking on all cylinders in the second practice of the day. Willie Tuitama got the offense going in 7-on-7 play, connecting with his receivers on nine of 10 pass attempts, including two to tight end Travis Bell. Bell’s second grab was good for a 25 yard gain. Later, Tuitama launched a ball downfield to a streaking Syndric Steptoe, who hauled in the pass and out-raced cornerback Michael Turner to the endzone.

 

Adam Austin also had a solid showing, completing five of his seven pass attempts. He, too, found a connection with Bell, hitting him for a pickup of 15 yards, before hooking up with Anthony Johnson for a 20 yard throw and catch.

 

The offense continued to roll in 11-on-11 team drills. Working against the blitz, Tuitama completed three of his first four passes. However, his second pass was picked off by safety Dominic Patrick. He wouldn’t let that get to him, as he bounced back later finding Mike Thomas 30 yards downfield, who then out-raced the defense to the endzone. Two plays later, Tuitama and Thomas would hook up again, this time for a 15 yard pickup. In all, Tuitama finished the team segment 10 of 15 passing.

 

“Willie is throwing the ball unbelievably well right now,” Stoops said of his sophomore signal caller. “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a quarterback throw the ball as well as he is right now. We need to make sure we have good protection to give him time to throw the ball.”

 

The Wildcats were also able to move the ball efficiently in the running game. Glyndon Bolasky took a handoff from Austin and made a nice inside cut to find a seam that took him all the way to the endzone untouched. Chris Henry, Xavier Smith and Chris Jennings were each able to find some holes to run behind for sizable gains.

 

The Wildcats will return to the practice field tomorrow evening for a single practice at 6 p.m. On Saturday, the team will host its Meet the Team festivities. Click on the link at the top of this page for more information.

 

Notes: After today’s two-a-day, the Wildcats have worked in 17 practices in 15 days of camp ... Only one practice has been affected due to weather ... The Wildcats worked out in full pads in both practices today ... Several freshmen were unable to practice for what coach Stoops called, "[NCAA] Clearinghouse issues." He was unable to elaborate further and said that he had to "sit and wait" like everyone else ... Former Wildcat free safety Darrell Brooks attended the evening practice. Brooks is enrolled for the fall semester at UA, which starts on Monday, where he will begin working on his MBA in public administration ... Barrett Baker, a captain on UA’s 1998 squad, attended the morning workout.

 

Morning Recap:

 

The University of Arizona football returned to the practice field Thursday morning after taking last night off for a night at the movie theater to see Talladega Nights.

 

Practice started just a little before 8 a.m., with clear skies overhead. The team worked through its basic daily drills in full pads, including individual, special teams, 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.

 

In the 7-on-7 ?'skeleton’ passing segment, Willie Tuitama completed six of 10 passes. The sophomore quarterback started a perfect two for two, but was intercepted on his third attempt when Specner Larsen reached in and stole the ball from the grasp of Travis Bell’s hands. Tuitama bounced back on the next play, placing a perfectly thrown ball into the hands of H-back Earl Mitchell for a 20-yard gain down the seam. A few plays later, Tuitama connected with Brad Wood on the longest play of the drill, a 20-yard throw and catch.

 

Adam Austin had a solid performance as well in ?'skelly’, completing five of his seven pass attempts. On his first attempt, he found freshman Terrell Turner open for a 20-plus yard pickup. He later found Turner for another first down conversion.

 

In the 11-on-11 action to close practice, it was all or nothing for both the offense and defense, as the team worked on blitz plays. Tuitama got the offense rolling to start, hitting Anthony Johnson for a gain of 20 yards to begin the drill. After a couple lackluster plays by the defense, which prompted a little motivation from the coaching staff, Spencer Larsen sparked the unit with a sack of Tuitama.

 

The defense continued to respond against Austin and the second team offense. Defensive end Michael Shelton got pressure off the edge, forcing Austin out of the pocket and the play to be called dead. On the next play, Austin looked to thread a pass down field to Turner, but Michael Klyce slid in front of the intended receiver to snag the interception.

 

The offense bounced back with a couple big plays for itself later, as Tuitama hit Mitchell for a near 30-yard completion and B.J. Dennard for a 25-yard play. In all, Tuitama finished seven of 12 passing.

 

The team will return to Rincon Vista this evening for a 6 p.m. practice. Practice is open to the media and general public.

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