Aug. 22, 2002
TUCSON, Ariz. - Senior offensive guard Makoa Freitas is likely to miss Arizona's season opener against Northern Arizona because of a hand injury suffered Thursday morning in practice, head coach John Mackovic said following Thursday's scrimmage. The extent of the injury is not known, and it may not be serious, but Freitas is scheduled to see a hand specialist to evaluate a wrist injury Friday.
"Makoa is one of the top linemen in the Pac-10," Mackovic said. "He is an outstanding offensive guard, and he is our top frontline player."
Other regulars were held out of Thursday's action, while the young recruiting class got extensive work in tonight's scrimmage.
"With the offensive line banged up right now, the rookies definitely will figure into our plans for next week even though we had hoped to bring them along a little more slowly," Mackovic added.
In scrimmage action, the Wildcat defense was sparked by three sacks and two turnovers. Senior linebacker Ray Wells, redshirt freshman tackle Brad Brittain and redshirt freshman linebacker Copeland Bryan each contributed a sack apiece. Freshman linebacker Akin Akinniyi came up big in the intra-squad contest, as he intercepted a Nic Costa pass off of a tip and forced a fumble late in the scrimmage.
Senior linebacker Lance Briggs led all defenders with five tackles. Junior linebacker Matt Molina and freshman free safety Lamon Means each tallied four tackles. Sophomore strong safety Tony Wingate added three hits. Wells, freshman tackle Carl Tuitavuki, and senior tackle Young Thompson each finished with two tackles.
"This was a bit of a dress rehearsal for us tonight," Mackovic said. "We have to congratulate the defense for creating some turnovers tonight. We have to play defense like that all of the time. Overall, we still have to keep working because we are not there yet."
UA's No. 1 quarterback, senior Jason Johnson, completed 5-of-9 passes for 66 yards. Redshirt freshman Nic Costa was 8-of-16 for 64 yards and had an interception. Freshman Ryan O'Hara completed 5-of-8 passes for 63 yards and hit senior wide receiver Scott Altick for a 13-yard touchdown strike.
Junior halfback Clarence Farmer played sparingly but had three carries for 25 yards and a 4-yard touchdown run on the first drive of the scrimmage. Redshirt freshmen halfbacks Mike Bell and Gainus Scott carried much of the load. Bell finished with six carries for 29 yards, and Scott added six rushes for 18 yards.
"Since we didn't play many of our starters, a lot of our second- and third-team players had the chance to get a lot of work in tonight," Mackovic said.
Sophomore tight end Steve Fleming led all Wildcat receivers with three receptions for 32 yards. Senior wide receiver Scott Altick finished the scrimmage with two receptions for 36 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown catch. Freshman tight end Matt Padron had two catches for 17 yards, and sophomore Ricky Williams caught two passes for 16 yards.
Junior placekicker Bobby Gill converted on field goal attempts from 23 and 43 yards, and senior Sean Keel made his only attempt of the night from 43 yards.
UA's offensive and defensive units combined for nine penalties. The offense had seven for 30 yards, while the defense had two for 30 yards.
The Wildcats are set to close training camp with a practice session Friday afternoon in the UA practice facility. The team returns to the practice field Monday to begin game-week preparations for Arizona's season home opener against the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks on Saturday, Aug. 31 in Arizona Stadium.