Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
20070806 Cats Strap Up Pads on Day 5
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: August 06, 2007
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TUCSON ?C The University of Arizona football team strapped on full pads for the first time during its 2007 Fall Camp on Monday evening. Heavy rains in the area earlier in the day forced the UA staff to move the practice to the artificial turf field at nearby Tucson High School, because practice fields at the Rincon Vista Complex were saturated.

Donning full pads, Arizona players worked through a regular practice schedule, including individual, group, special teams, 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 segments. It was another productive day as both the offensive and defensive sides continue to install and refine schemes and formations.

In the 7-on-7 session, Willie Tuitama and the offense rebounded from a sub par outing last evening. In a better rhythm with receivers, the junior signal caller completed 10 of 14 attempts. Things looked better for the offense almost immediately as Tuitama connected with Anthony Johnson for a 15-yard gain to start the drill.

Later in the segment, Tuitama found a favorite target in wide receiver Terrell Turner, who caught three consecutive passes and four total from Tuitama, including a 12-yard completion.

Also seeing action at quarterback were backups Tyler Lyon, Kris Heavner and true freshman Bryson Beirne, who got his first live action of camp. After a pair of incompletions, Beirne hooked up with classmate David Roberts for a five-yard gain. Later he found Roberts for another 5-yard play, before finding Rob Gronkowski, another true freshman, for a 15-yard pick up.

All four quarterbacks saw action in 11-on-11 action as well. Much like in the 7-on-7 segment, the offense also was sharper in team drills.

In Tuitamaˇ?s second series, execution proved to be the difference as the offense came up with a series of solid plays. It started as Tuitama drew the defense offsides on a play, and immediately looked to throw deep to Mike Thomas. While the ball was intercepted by Marquis Hundley, it was a risk worth taking. That set up a six-yard throw and catch to B.J. Dennard on the next snap.

On the next play, the offensive line did a tremendous job of giving Tuitama time to throw, before he spotted Thomas open for a 15-yard completion. That was followed by another toss to Thomas, for a quick pickup of eight yards.

The defense had a solid showing of its own, however. On the third play of the drill, Yaniv Barnett and Ronnie Palmer teamed up to sack Tuitama, who was slowed by having to pick up a low snap. Later, true freshman Kaniela Tuipulotu provided the "hit of the day", as he snuffed out a wide receiver screen, squaring his pads up to Rod Rivera for no gain on the play. To end the evening, ends Ricky Elmore and Dˇ?Aundre Reed team up to "sack" Tuitama as the play was blown dead.

The Wildcats will return to the practice field tomorrow for a single practice at the Rincon Vista Complex. The workout is slated to begin at 5:45 p.m., but as always, the time and location could be subject to change due to weather and field conditions.


- After a soggy and gloomy start to the day, mostly cloudy skies prevailed in the afternoon, allowing for a very pleasant practice at Tucson high.

-Head Coach Mike Stoops took the evening off from addressing the media.

-Tucson Badgers coach Vincent Smith played at the UA from 1990-92.

-The artificial surface at Tucson High, Field Turf, is a similar surface as to what the Wildcats will play on in road trips to California, Oregon State and Washington this season. Players did not seem to have any trouble adjusting to the Field Turf at Tucson High.

-During "middle drill", Chris Jennings (6), Xavier Smith (5), Nicholas Grigsby (4), Terry Longbons (2), Glyndon Bolasky (2) and Avory Battle (1) received carries.

-Kris Heavner and Tyler Lyon each went 2-3 passing in 7-on-7s, while Bryson Beirne completed 3-6.

-In 11-on-11 action, Kris Heavner completed 4-5 passes, all for short gains. Tyler Lyon cmpleted 2-3 attempts, also for short gains. Bryson Beirne completed 1-2 attempts, a dump-off to Nicholas Grigsby for a short gain.


Sophomore H-Back Earl Mitchelll

On the progress of the offense during camp:

"I think the offense is definitely developing something special right now. I can see a big change from last year. Everyone is working hard, and everyone is having fun working hard."

On his role in the offense:

"My role is basically pretty similar to last year. Iˇ?m just trying to develop into a more consistent player in everything I do. Iˇ?m to learn more of the running back responsibilities that I have to. I have a lot of tight end and fullback responsibilities, too."

On Willie Tuitamaˇ?s play in camp:

"Willie is really picking things up quickly. That is one of the attributes that makes him a great quarterback; he picks things up easily."

Sophomore WR Terrell Turner

On the progress of the offense during camp:

"We are definitely making strides. Everyone is working hard and getting better at executing our plays. We know we are going to have to execute to win."

On Willie Tuitamaˇ?s play in camp:

"Willie is looking good right now. He is moving in the pocket well. Heˇ?s more agile and is avoiding some sacks. Heˇ?s making more plays on his own."

On the competition at WR:

"Thereˇ?s a lot of competition right now. Everyone knows weˇ?re throwing the ball a lot and everyone wants the ball in their hands. Weˇ?re all working hard trying to gain an edge."

On how much of the offense has been installed:

"Weˇ?ve still got a few drop back plays and some other things to work on. We have all of our quick game in right now."



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