Aug. 5, 2010
TUCSON, Ariz. - After months of grueling offseason workouts and summer classes, the Arizona football team was finally back on the field Thursday morning for the first practice of the 2010 Fall Camp held at the Rincon Vista Complex.
The Wildcats were wide awake well before sunrise and took to the practice field for a 6:15 a.m. workout that lasted two hours. Players donned white helmets with red and blue stripes along with practice jerseys and shorts. The full pads will be strapped on in the coming days.
"It was a good first day," Head Coach Mike Stoops told a throng of reporters after practice. "We were obviously a little bit rusty, but overall I was really pleased with everything."
Stoops' Quick Take
Veteran players took the lead in keeping the swift pace while the newcomers learned the ropes of preseason practices. One thing was clear, however: there is some talent in the freshman class.
"I really liked what I saw from our young guys," Stoops said. "I like they way they moved around. I can already see we have some players in the freshman class that can help us."
Other than first-day rustiness, coaches were pleased with the mindset of the team coming off a pair of eight-win seasons and consecutive bowl berths. Certainly improving on those seasons and showing more consistency is the challenge for this season.
"I like this team a lot," Stoops mentioned. "I like what they did this summer and the business attitude we have. I told them last night that we need consistency. This whole season is going to be a grind and we can't get too high or get too low at any point."
Stoops was pleased with the offseason development of his entire team, but took note two positions in particular. According the seventh-year head coach, the offensive line has great "physical makeup", and the stronger linebacking corps has "more range" than the units from previous seasons.
Ultimately, the coming weeks will help set the tone for the grind of the season that Stoops referenced. After all, four weeks from today the team will depart Tucson for Ohio in preparation for the season opener against Toledo the next day on Sept. 3. Then it will officially be "Game On" for 12 weeks.
"I think our guys understand this league is wide open," Stoops said. "It's going to be a great Pac-10 season. We've had some success the last couple years, but we have a chance to do something that's never been done before at this school. What could be more motivating than that?"
The Wildcats will return to the practice field on Friday morning. Workouts are set to begin at 6:15 a.m. at the Rincon Vista Complex.