Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Freshmen Making an Impact in Fall Camp
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: August 17, 2005
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The Arizona football team completed its 15th practice of fall camp Wednesday morning at the Rincon Vista complex as the players worked out in helmets and shoulder pads.

The players continued to work on their basic individual drills, special teams, 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 situations. During the 7-on-7 passing segment, sophomore quarterback Richard Kovalcheck completed five out of six passes to five different receivers. Junior Adam Austin completed three out of five attempts, while freshman Willie Tuitama’s only pass attempt was intercepted by Dominic Patrick.

The Wildcats went through an hour-long 11-on-11 period working on various situations, including a two-minute offense drill to close practice.

During the special teams segment the team practiced their kick return unit. Junior Dramayne McElroy and freshman Michael Thomas both returned live kicks and are among a handful of candidates expected to see playing time on the return unit.

“I really like Michael Thomas, Syndric Steptoe and Chris Henry,” head coach Mike Stoops said of the kick-returners. “They all have good speed. I’m hoping we’ll be improved this year.”

Thomas is one of the freshmen that have stood out to the coaching staff throughout camp.

“I like all of them,” said Stoops referring to the talent of the freshman class. “There are five or six of them that could play a key roles for us this year.”

One of those players could be Brandon Tatum, a versatile defense back.

“Brandon has great ball skills and cover ability,” Stoops said. “He is just a great athlete.”

Freshman Blake Kerley is also pushing for playing time at center, challenging junior Erick Levitre.

“Erick and Blake are both doing well,” commented Stoops. “I’m happy with the way they are both progressing.”

Kerley is looking to contribute in any way he can.

“It’s important to me,” Kerley said of the possibility of starting at some point this season. “Mostly I just want to help the team in anyway I can. That’s what it is all about.”

The Wildcats are scheduled to practice again this evening, however practice is closed to the public and media. The team will hold a single practice on Thursday at a time to be announced.

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