Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Give and Take Scrimmage Closes Week One
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: April 06, 2006
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TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The Arizona football team held its first open practice of the spring on Saturday with a 57-play scrimmage that lasted just over an hour in front of nearly 200 fans that came out to Arizona Stadium.


The scrimmage, which consisted of 33 rushing plays and 24 passing plays, was the first full-contact action the team has experienced since last November. The offense struck with an early score, but the defense buckled down and turned up the pressure on the offense as the scrimmage wore on.


“I saw a lot of good things this week,” third-year head coach Mike Stoops said following the scrimmage. “The first week back in the spring is always a little rough. there are some fundamental things we have got to clean up, but we got a lot of good work in. We’ve got about 60-70 percent of our stuff in and you're going to have mistakes early, both fundamental and mental. I like the attitude of our team.”


The offense opened up the scrimmage and showed signs of consistency that the staff has been looking for, as it drove 75 yards for the only offensive touchdown of the game. Junior running back Chris Henry carried the ball eight times on the drive, including a 25 yard burst to move the offense inside the 25-yard line.


Chris Henry carried the ball eight times on the opening possesion, which was capped off by a 1-yard TD reception by Brandon Lopez.

The defense then held its own on the next three plays, leaving the offense with a fourth-and-one at the 16. Expecting the run, the defense was caught off-guard as quarterback Willie Tuitama dropped back looking for Travis Bell on a fade pattern to the endzone. The ball was overthrown, but the defense bailed the offense out, holding Bell as he released to the endzone and giving the offense an automatic first down.


With the ball inside the 10-yard line, Henry rushed three straight times to the one-yard line. With another fourth-and-short, Tuitama again went to the air, this time on a play-action call as he found fullback Brandon Lopez in the endzone for the score.


The offense continued to move the ball on the second drive as Adam Austin took over under center. He quickly found tight end Brandyn McCall for a 10-yard gain. A couple short Xavier Smith runs and a nine-yard completion to Anthony Johnson had the defense on its heals, before Jason Parker turned up the pressure for the defense. Parker stuffed a Smith run for no gain, then sacked Austin for a loss of five. Austin couldn’t connect with Johnson on third down, and the defense earned its first stop of the day.

The defensive line was led by Jason Parker's three sacks.


With Tuitama and the first team offense back out on the field, the defense maintained its intensity, forcing a three-and-out. This time, Lionel Dotson led the charge, sacking Tuitama.Tuitama remained on the field for the next series, but the offense quickly found itself in a third-and-12 situation. Tuitama then found Michael Thomas on a slant pattern that picked up 22 yards to get the offense out of trouble. In the next set of downs however, Rickey Parker picked up a sack, stalling the drive for the offense.


Austin then led the offense on a six-yard drive highlighted by an 11-yard passing play to B.J. Dennard, but John McKinney would sack Austin, forcing the offense off the field.


Tuitama came back out for his fourth series, but the offense would struggle to establish the run. Dotson tackled Henry for a loss of five. Playing behind the chains, Tuitama then found Travis Bell for a pickup of 22 yards. On the ensuing play, safety Dominic Patrick laid the hit of the day on Henry, knocking the ball loose before the offense would recover.


The defense had nine tackles for loss. Dane Krogstad had this one.

Later in the drive, Tuitama found Anthony Johnson over the middle on fourth down for a gain of seven yards. Three plays later on fourth down again, Tuitama stepped up in the pocket to avoid pressure and had Thomas open behind the defense, but the pass was just overthrown and the drive stalled.


After two short drives led by Austin, the offense came back out for a final series and showed the same explosiveness it did to open the scrimmage. Tuitama connected with Lopez and Syndric Steptoe on eight and 14 yard completions, before Henry exploded for a 30 yard pickup on a swing pass out of the backfield. The play moved the offense inside the 20, but the defense wouldn’t give in. In what turned out to be the final play of the afternoon, cornerback Wilrey Fontenot stepped in front of Tuitama’s pass intended for Johnson, and raced 85 yards for the score.

Wilrey Fontenot returned an INT 85  yards to cap the scrimmage.


Before the scrimamge in the stadium, the team held a shortened practice at the Jimenez Practice Facility. The team went through basic indivudal drills, and then concluded with two team sessions. The offense and defense battled each other in a 10 minute inside run drill, and then faced off in a 10 minute 7-on-7 skeleton drill. In the passing session, Tuitama completed four of 10 passes. Austin completed two of three attempts, but his first was picked off by Xavier Kelley.






Statistics (Scrimmage Only)


PASSING (15-25-175yds, 1 TD, I INT):

Tuitama 10-17-128yds, TD, INT; Austin: 5-8-47yds


RUSHING (26-77yds ?- sacks not included)

C. Henry 18-53yds, X. Smith 7-21yds, T. Longbons 1-3yds



Lopez 3-13, TD; Henry 2-38, A. Johnson 2-16, M. Thomas 1-22, Tr. Bell 1-22, Steptoe 1-14, McCoy 1-13, Dennard 1-11, Richards 1-10, McCall 1-9



Palmer, 5; Larsen, 4; Kelley, 4; J. Parker, 3; Fontenot, 3; Tatum, 3; Rodriguez, 3; Patrick, 3; Dotson, 2; McCovy, 2; Cason, 2; Hollingsworth, 2; Barnett, 2; Krogstad, 2; Turner, 2; McKinney, 1; R. Parker, 1; M. Smith, 1; Shelton, 1; M. Johnson, 1; Bertrand, 1; B. Ring, 1



J. Parker ?- 3, Dotson ?- 1, R. Parker ?- 1, McKinney ?- 1



J. Parker ?- 3, Dotson ?- 2, McKinney ?- 1, Johnson ?- 1, R. Parker ?- 1, Palmer -1



Fontenot ?- 1, TD



Johnson ?- 2, Cason ?- 1, Fontenot ?- 1, J. Parker ?- 1


Forced Fumbles (1):

Patrick - 1

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