June 28, 2001
TUCSON, Ariz. - UA football coach John Mackovic and staff will welcome newcomers on Thursday, Aug. 2, for the start of fall football camp -- just five short weeks away.
Mackovic, hired in December when Dick Tomey resigned, opens his first fall camp as the head man at Arizona. For the first time since 1982, the team will stay on campus during two-a-days. UA had moved training operations 100 miles southeast to Cochise Community College near the Mexico border for the past 19 years. Plans this season call for the use of the university's athletic fields at Murphey Stadium (soccer) a half mile south of campus, along with the regular football practice fields and Arizona Stadium.
The Pacific-10 Conference will announce the pre-season league coaches' poll at Pac-10 Football Media Day Aug. 1 in Los Angeles, with Arizona generally expected to slot in somewhere in the middle of the pack on the heels of consecutive 6-6 and 5-6 records the past two years.
The strength of the team after the initial work of Mackovic's new staff in spring practice appears to be the Cats' defense and its seven returning starters. Leaders of the unit include Lombardi Award candidate Lance Briggs, inside linebacker, cornerback Michael Jolivette, a freshman All-America pick in 2000, strong safety Brandon Nash, a Pac-10 postgraduate scholarship winner after his May graduation, and senior tackle Keoni Fraser and senior defensive end Eli Wnek up front.
Mackovic's multiple-pro passing attack under junior quarterback Jason Johnson appeared to make gains toward the end of spring drills, and the Cats return a number of receivers led by All-Pac-10 return specialist Bobby Wade. Halfback Clarence Farmer, who set a school freshman rushing record in 2000, sat out contact drills in spring (wrist injury) but is expected at full strenghth -- and then some -- for fall camp, according to Mackovic. Senior center Steven Grace, a starting guard for the past several years, is expected to anchor an improved offensive line.
Initial Arizona Fall Football Calendar
Aug. 1 - Pac-10 Media Day, Los Angeles
Aug. 2 - Arizona newcomers report
Aug. 3 - Newcomers' orientation, practices
Aug. 4 - Newcomers' orientation, practices
Aug. 6 - Veterans report
Aug. 7 - Arizona Football Media Day
Aug. 8 - Training camp opens, two-a-day practices
Aug. 9-18 - Multiple practices, scrimmage tentatively set for 8-15
Aug. 18 - Fan Appreciation Night, Arizona Stadium
Aug. 20 - First day of University of Arizona classes
Aug. 21 - Fall practice routine commences
Aug. 23 - Kickoff Luncheon, Doubletree Hotel
Aug. 30 - Arizona at San Diego State, season opener. 7:05 p.m. PDT/MST - ESPN2