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Az Spring Ball 3-9
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 03/09/2008
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FBS Hall Grigsby Ross
Corey Hall (l), Nic Grigsby, Devin Ross
FBS Mike Thomas
Receiver Mike Thomas' watchful eye
FBS Dean Nichol
Delashaun Dean, coach Dave Nichol
FBS Hammer
DE coach Jeff Hammershmidt and?Stoops
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Receiver Derick Barkum runs a route
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Tennessee Titan Chris Henry, ex-Cat

TUCSON--Head coach Mike Stoops said Sunday's football practice was better than the spring opener on Saturday, with the?"offense in a much?better rhythm" and "the young guys on defense impressing me the way they're working.

"I like our attitude and the way we're going about things out here. (Quarterback) Willie (Tuitama) did some good things and our experience on that side shows," Stoops said.

UA coaches, himself included as a former defensive coordinator, are charged on defense with finding replacements for eight departed starters. Spring ball will determine who should join senior linebacker Ronnie Palmer and safeties Nate Ness and Cam Nelson in the lineup.

UA will be young at defensive end, for example, although senior Johnathan Turner returns with 25 starts in his career. Otherwise, D'Aundre Reed, Brooks Reed, Apai Tuihalamaka and Ricky Elmore all are in contention.

Stoops said he was impressed with UA's mid-year junior college transfers, which includes linebacker Sterling Lewis and Vuna Tuihalamaka, and offensive lineman Herman Hall, Mike Diaz and Phillip Garcia. "I like all our incoming players. They'll help us," he said.

The Cats will don full pads Monday and Wednesday before taking a break for a week during the University's?Spring Break.

Stoops said he had formed a player council of about a dozen players to handle some of the discretionary leadership involved with the team. "I got tired of yelling at the same guys all the time for the same things. The players know -- it's their team. If some people keep making bad choices, these guys can do what's necessary to bring them in line."

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