After three days of donning full gear, the players wore only helmets and shoulder pads as near-perfect weather helped contribute to a solid all-around practice. The defensive was particularly impressive throughout the evening, making things difficult on Willie Tuitama and the rest of the offensive group as both teams worked inside the redzone for a second straight night.
During the 7-on-7 skeleton passing drill, Tuitama completed eight of 13 pass attempts, including a strike to Mike Thomas in the endzone. Michael Johnson led the defensive charge, with an athletic play to breakup a pass intended for Syndric Steptoe in the endzone. With Adam Austin at the controls, the defense turned up the pressure even more, forcing the senior to go without a completion in two attempts, and pull the ball down for two “coverage” sacks.
The defense remained tough during the 11-on-11 segment to close practice. Tuitama only completed four of nine attempts, while
The rest of the highlight went to the defense, which looked strong throughout. Dane Krogstad got the momentum on the defense’s side early, intercepting a pass that initially appeared to be caught by Thomas at the goal line. With plays like that and tight coverage all over the field, Tuitama started one of five passing. The defensive line later got in the act, as Michael Shelton came off the edge to sack Tuitama.
Throughout camp, the battles between the offense and defense have been intense, with a little bit of “trash” talking adding fuel to the drills pitting the two sides against each other. The enthusiasm and intensity has pleased the coaching staff, and it has added a sense of urgency on each play. One of the more vocal players on the field has been junior corner back Antoine Cason.
“I like to do a lot of talking in practice,” the 2005 second team All-Pac 10 player said. “It adds to the competition. No one wants to be nagged on. I started doing it back in the spring and have carried it over to this fall. It brings out better competition. It helps us grow a lot as a team.”
The offense and defense will get to showcase their improvement this fall in Arizona Stadium tomorrow evening. An open practice and “controlled” scrimmage will get started at 6 p.m. Fans are encouraged to attend and sit in the lower level on the east side of Arizona Stadium. Admission is free.
NOTES: The Wildcats will hold a morning practice session tomorrow, but it is closed to the media and public ... With the tricky monsoon thunderstorm forecast cooperating with the fall camp schedule once again, the Wildcats have had only one practice shortened thus far, after having no conflicts with the weather a year ago ... Louis Holmes was not at practice this evening because he had two teeth pulled earlier in the day. When asked if it was his wisdom teeth, head coach Mike Stoops said with a laugh, “I don’t know. I’m not a dentist.” ... The Cats worked on their kickoff return team during the special teams segment. B.J. Dennard, Mike Thomas and Devin Ross were among the players returning kicks. Syndric Steptoe is also expected to return kicks this year. “Syndric is a very good punt and kick return guy,” Stoops said. “Mike Thomas and Devin Ross are also dangerous. Those three guys have good speed and can make big plays for us.” ... Lionel Dotson, a former defensive end, has shown tremendous improvement at defensive tackle this fall. During the 11-on-11 segment, Dotson got pressure up the middle and tackled Xavier Smith for a loss behind the line of scrimmage. “Lionel is consistently getting better and better,” Stoops said ... Brad Wood, who caught six touch down passes a year ago, has liked what he has seen from the offensive unit. “We’re looking for great things this year. We’ve got great depth at tight end. We’ve three new receivers who are good, plus the returning guys. I think we are more dangerous this year and should put up a lot of points.”
Football Individual Home Game Tickets Available
2006 Arizona Football individual home game tickets go on sale tomorrow, Saturday, August 12, beginning at 9:00 a.m. (MST). Tickets can be purchased online, or by phone or in person at the McKale Ticket Office on August 12 from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Click on the following links for ticket information, including ticket prices and to view our interactive seating diagram.
Purchase your season tickets before individual game tickets go on sale. Great seats are still available and can be purchased online, or by calling the McKale Ticket Office.