Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Sharp Practice Wraps Up First Two-a-Day
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: August 11, 2006
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TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The University of Arizona football team wrapped up its first two-a-day practice of the 2006 Fall Camp with a crisp practice Thursday evening.


“Things were a little rough this morning,” head coach Mike Stoops said of the Wildcats’ 8 a.m. practice earlier in the day. “It was not a great practice. Tonight, I thought we were much more focused and had better execution.”


The Wildcats again worked on their daily individual drills, special teams and daily team segments. In the 7-on-7 skeleton passing segment, Willie Tuitama completed six of 10 pass attempts. On two occasions, the defense held, with no passing attempt by Tuitama. Adam Austin connected on three of seven attempts.


The 11-on-11 segment to close practice focused on red-zone situations, with the offense starting inside the 2-yard on line in various situations. Early on, it looked like the offense was going to bounce back after a bit of a rough ?'skelly’ period. Tuitama completed his first two passes, one to Brandyn McCall and the other to Syndric Steptoe, both of which resulted in 15 yard gains.


The defense would settle in after that. With Adam Austin running the offense, Louis Holmes got pressure in the backfield forcing the play to be called dead before he could get to Austin. Tuitama would not have much better luck on his next set of plays, throwing consecutive interceptions. On the first, the sophomore quarterback was looking for Matt Richards in the endzone, but overthrow him right into the arms of Dominic Patrick. On the next play, Tuitama was looking to the sideline, when Antoine Cason stepped in front of the pass for the pick.


The defense would continue to hold strong inside the 20, as Devin Ross broke up a Tuitama pass intended for Mike Thomas. A couple plays later, Tuitama had no one to throw to when he was met by Michael Shelton, forcing a sack. On Tuitama’s next pass attempt, his ball was batted down at the line of scrimmage by Lionel Dotson, who also could have sacked Tuitama before the ball was thrown if he was allowed to. Ross recorded his second pass breakup with Austin back in, this time covering Terrell Reese on a fade route to the back of the endzone.


The offense would bounce back, however, late in the practice. Behind the first team offensive line, Chris Henry found a seam up the middle and went virtually untouched into the endzone. Xavier Smith also found similar success on the next play, making a nice cut and picking up a sure 10 yards. Tuitama got the last laugh over Cason, who had earlier intercepted him. After buying time in the pocket, Tuitama rolled to his right and fired a strike to Anthony Johnson on a comeback route, for a pickup of 25 yards in front of the junior corner back.


The Wildcats will be back out on the practice field tomorrow night, with a 6 p.m. workout at Rincon Vista scheduled. The team will hold its second two-a-day practice on Saturday. A morning session will be held at Rincon Vista, but it will be closed to the media and public. Later in the day, at 6 p.m., the Wildcats will hold a practice and controlled scrimmage inside Arizona Stadium. Fans are encouraged to attend.


NOTES: The Wildcats were able to avoid evening monsoon thunderstorms for a second night in a row, completing the practice with mostly cloudy skies overhead and relatively comfortable temperatures ... Head coach Mike Stoops said the staff is “protecting” several players who have gotten banged up in the first week of practice. “Peter Graniellohas a bruised shoulder. Adam Hawes has a some small problems with his foot. We’re sensitive to a lot of the guys because we need them ready for September 2. There’s nothing serious right now, we just don’t want to overload our guys.” ... Coach Stoops said that neither he nor the other coaches were able to reach former Wildcat and current Redskin Kili Lefotu (health issues) or his family throughout the day, but were hoping to reach them tonight or tomorrow ... One of the most competitive positions in camp so far has been the running back spot. According to Stoops: “Chris (Henry) is running well right now, as is Xavier Smith. Chris Jennings is doing some good things.” He went on to say, “Chris (Henry) is our starter. But we’ve got three or four guys that we know can play.” ... Smith said that he wasn’t affected much by the first two-a-day workout. “I’m not tired at all. Coach Ed (Corey Edmond) has got us in real good shape.” ... Linebacker Spencer Larsen echoed those thoughts. “The first day (of two-a-days) is always a little tough. But it’s not too bad. I think we handled it alright.”



Remaining Fall Football Practice Schedule


Friday                 Aug. 11      6 p.m.

Saturday            Aug. 12      8 a.m., 6 p.m.

Sunday              Aug. 13      --

Monday              Aug. 14      8 a.m., 6:15 p.m.

Tuesday             Aug. 15      5:45 p.m.

Wednesday       Aug. 16      8 a.m., 6:15 p.m.

Thursday           Aug. 17      5:45 p.m.

Friday                 Aug. 18      8 a.m., 6:15 p.m.

Saturday            Aug. 19      Meet the Team,

                                             Evening scrimmage

Monday              Aug. 21      Classes begin

Monday              Aug. 28      Mike Stoops’

                                             weekly news conference

Morning Recap


TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The University of Arizona football completed its first of two practices scheduled for today earlier this morning at the Rincon Vista Complex.


The Wildcats were ready to go in full gear for the 8 a.m. practice, which was similar to each of the six single-practice days thus far in camp. Practice was a little bit more tense than in recent days, as it was evident coaches were being more vocal and making sure players were not losing any intesity or focus.


The offense was sharp during the 7-on-7 skeleton passing period. Sophomore quarterback Willie Tuitama completed eight of 10 pass attempts, including three to senior Syndric Steptoe. Adam Austin was also impressive, connecting on four of five pass attempts. The senior backup did throw one interception on the day, to Dominic Patrick, who tipped the pass to himself before hauling it in. Freshman Tyler Lyon only got one pass attempt, but made the most of it, finding Eric Sheehan along the sideline for a 25 yard pickup.


During the 11-on-11 segment, the Wildcats mixed things up between the pass and run. Through the air, Tuitama was four of eight passing, including a long completion to Anthony Johnson, which would have gone for a score. The highlight of the day was a long pass completion from receiver Mike Thomas, who took a handoff from Tuitama racing towards the sideline on a reverse, but pulled up and passed downfield to B.J. Dennard.


Austin was two-for-two passing, both short completions, but was also sacked twice. The first was by Jason Parker who came virtually untouched into the backfield. The second time, defensive ends Ricky Elmore and Louis Holmes got pressure off the edges, forcing the play to be blown dead. Yaniv Barnett also recorded a sack early in the segment with Tuitama under center.


The Wildcats will be back on the practice field this evening to complete the first two-a-day practice of camp. Practice is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Rincon Vista, but the time and location is subject to change.


NOTES: Coaches and players were not available to the media following the morning session, but will be for this evening’s workout ... The team again spent time working on its punt and punt coverage teams ... Kyle McQuown continues to get the most reps as the punter ... During the “middle” and 11-on-11 periods, Chris Henry, Xavier Smith, Terry Longbons, Chris Jennings and Glyndon Bolasky received carries on the ground ... Place kicker Nick Folk has been impressive in practice to date, and continued to work before practice this morning. Said head coach Mike Stoops earlier in the week about Folk: “Shoot, Nick has excellent talent. He’s got range to 55 yards, which he can he hit consistently.”


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