March 7, 2002
TUCSON, Ariz. - The University of Arizona football team closed its fifth spring practice session Thursday afternoon, as the Wildcats ran through 2:30 minutes of full-pad action for the second day. The Wildcats, who had five practices in seven days to open the spring training camp schedule, paid considerable attention to full-line work in the team's final practice before Spring Break.
"We need practices like this where we practice hard against each other," head coach John Mackovic said. "Our highest priority right now is that everyone has to work hard at becoming a better football player in terms of technique. Our focus has to be on each individual's personal improvement."
The Wildcats worked in several full-line and seven-on-seven passing and rushing sessions, as the team continues to install several offensive and defensive plays.
"We had two really good, hard workouts on Tuesday and today," Mackovic said. "I am pleased with the fact that the players are responding to our challenging and pushing them, but we still have a ways to go."
Mackovic, who spent a great deal of time working with the defense this week, told the defensive players that their primary goal at this point is "to run to the football." He added that the defense must "fly and get off the blocks and the ground and get to the ball" in order to improve upon last season's defensive performance.
On the offensive side, the Wildcats return several veteran players who, according to Mackovic, have a good command of the offensive scheme.
"We have a lot of veterans on offense who know the system and who know the plays and know what we want them to do. But, we need to make sure that we get our young backs (redshirt freshmen Gainus Scott, Mike Bell and Sean Jones) the work that they need in order to learn the offense," Mackovic added.
UA has 10 practice sessions remaining on its schedule, including the Spring Game on April 6 at Arizona Stadium. Arizona is allowed 15 spring practices under NCAA guidelines. The Wildcats are off March 9-17 for Spring Break and will return to the practice field on Tuesday, March 19, at 4 p.m.
All spring practices are open to the public. Most are scheduled on the practice facility at North Campbell Avenue and Enke Drive, across from McKale Center, but the Spring Game and some other sessions will be held in Arizona Stadium.