Aug. 15, 2001
Arizona closed the 12th practice of fall football training camp with about an hour of live scrimmaging, about which head coach John Mackovic said afterward, "We have so much work to do."
The Wildcats worked in full gear with officiating for some 48 plays in the afternoon's practice. The action marked the first live tackling of camp and Mackovic said it showed.
"The tackling wasn't crisp and receivers dropped some passes, but we put (the team) through eight-play drives -- you have to get up, get back in the huddle and get going again," he said. The purpose was to simulate the kind of conditioning players will need in games, he said, and promised more intensive work in that area at Saturday's scrimmage.
Junior quarterback Jason Johnson continued to put distance between himself and backups John Rattay and Cliff Watkins, though none sparkled, Mackovic said. "The quarterbacks did a fair job," he commented.
Johnson completed six of eight passes for 71 yards, and hit tight end Justin Levasseur for a short-yardage touchdown and set up a good screen pass to halfback Clarence Farmer, who did some nifty running for a 28-yard score. "I think we have a lot of players who can do something when they get the ball in the open field. Clarence did a fine job," Mackovic said.
Watkins completed four of four throws, although one was called back for an offensive penalty, Rattay was unsuccesful in two attempts while working with the backup offensive line. True freshman Nic Costa had the biggest gain of the day, hitting halfback Gainus Scott, also a freshman, for a 50-yard pass play.
Fullback Mike Detwiler rumbled 30 yards on an off-tackle run, carrying several defenders for some final yardage, while top halfbacks Clarence Farmer (5 carries, 11 yards) and Leo Mills (3 carries, 6 yards) had tougher going. Redshirt freshman Tremained Cox had 20 yards on two carries.
UA will practice twice Thursday, once Friday and twice Saturday to close the preseason camp portion of fall drills.
NOTES... Tight end Peter Hansen showed his special teams value has not diminished in a couple of plays before the team scrimmaged Wednesday. He blocked a field goal attempt then on the next play swatted down the pass on a fake field goal try... Mackovic plans to have the team run from 80 to 90 plays Saturday in the Fans Appreciation Night scrimmage in Arizona Stadium. "It will incorporate more game-type tempo," he said... In Wednesday morning skeleton passing drills Johnson hit six of seven attempts while Watkins and Rattay combined for four of 12...