Aug. 9, 2010
TUCSON, Ariz. - After four rather businesslike workouts to open training camp, the Arizona football team strapped on full pads for the first time and the Wildcat defense finally asserted itself on Monday morning at the Rincon Vista Complex.
"Today was another solid day," Head Coach Mike Stoops told reporters after practice. "The kids seem to be working hard. I'm really pleased with the first five days. W have a lot of competition at all of our positions. The more depth we create with this program, the better the competition gets."
Quick Take: Stoops After Practice
The first four days of camp were mostly dominated by the more experienced offensive unit, which has shown consistency and big-play ability behind nine returning starters and many other key contributors with experience. Meanwhile, the defense had been without the swagger that existed throughout last season with a top-25 unit, of which only four starters return.
That all changed this morning as the defense ramped up the intensity, irking the offense and provoking increased back-and-forth chirping from both sides. It also escalated into an altercation that drew a swift response from the coaches and effectively ended practice five minutes early.
The fiery play was a welcomed sign by coaches, although player safety was the primary concern . When the dust settled, it was clear that the defense had finally asserted itself as a unit to be reckoned with.
"Oh yeah, today was fun," junior defensive back Robert Golden said after practice. "We are stepping up our game. We want to get that edge in practice."
Golden, one of the four returning starters on defense, was one of several vocal players on Monday. Senior defensive end Ricky Elmore and freshman linebacker Trevor Erno also were easy to identify on the field. So, too, was sophomore safety Adam Hall, who knocked down freshman tight end Jack Baucus on a pass breakup over the middle that prompted the final altercation between the two units. Quick Video: Defenders at the Goal
Coaches continued to be impressed the overall competition on the field and plan on scrimmaging on Tuesday morning to continue to evaluate players competing on the depth chart. It will be a good indication of where the team stands after a week of practices and before a relocation to Fort Huachuca later this week.
Arizona will hold its final practice in Tucson tomorrow morning in Tucson at either Rincon Vista or on campus at the Jimenez Practice Facility. The team will be off on Wednesday to complete summer classes and travel to Fort Huachuca. Once on post, the Wildcats will hold a two-a-day on Thursday, a single practice on Friday and scrimmage on Saturday afternoon at Buena High School.