Tucson, Ariz. ?- The University of Arizona football team capped off their two-week fall training camp with a scrimmage Saturday night in front of an estimated crowd of 7,500 at Arizona Stadium. With new Head Coach Mike Stoops at the helm the offense scored two touchdowns and the defense had two interceptions and six sacks during the two-hour scrimmage.
“We are a much better football team then we were last spring and even two weeks ago,” said Head Coach Mike Stoops.
The offense made some big strides from last Saturday’s scrimmage. Sophomore Kris Heavner was 20-of-28 for 212-yards and both touchdowns along with one interception. Heavner found both junior running back Gilbert Harris and senior tight end Steve Fleming for the touchdowns. In addition to Heavner, Sophomore Ryan O’Hara was 5-of-10 for 62-yards and red shirt freshman Richard Kovalcheck was 3-of-5 for 15-yards and one interception.
Along with their touchdowns Harris finished the evening 9 carries for 57-yards and Fleming had 5 catches for 46-yards.
Fleming led the receivers, but close behind him was sophomore Ryan Eidson who had three catches for 45 -yards. Newly changed to receiver junior Nic Costa had three catches for 39-yards. Sophomore Syndric Steptoe caught the ball 5 times for 28-yards.
Junior running back Mike Bell provided some exciting play. In the first series alone, Bell carried the ball seven times for 32-yards. He ended the evening with nine carried for 59-yards.
“Coaches just want me to get a feel for the game and get some good reps in,” said Bell.
Stoops liked what he saw in the offense on Saturday night, “If we can manage the ball and protect the ball and just make our plays we are going to be fine, I’ll tell you what I couldn’t be pleased with the level of confidence...you can all see what he [Mike Bell] brings to the table every time he touches the ball. We’re starting to get better,” Stoops said.
Overall, the Arizona offense rushed for 143-yards on 24 carries, and the receivers tallied 18 receptions for 239-yards.
Heavner enjoyed the offense success Saturday, “It’s so fun running the offense out there ?- it’s so easy.”
While the offense had fixed their mechanic errors form the start of camp, Coach Stoops wasn’t all that impressed with the defensive side of the ball, but they still managed to come up big at times during the scrimmage. Junior safety Lamon Means and freshman Antonie Cason both had interceptions.
Senior defensive tackle Carlos Williams, junior defensive ends Copeland Bryan, red shirt freshmen Lionel Dotson and Jason Parker all combined for six sacks.
Senior linebacker Pat Howard led the team with eight tackles. Keil McDonald, Kirk Johnson, Marcus Hollingsworth followed Howard with seven tackles.
The defense also was able to break up five plays, along with two fumble recoveries by freshmen Johnathan Turner and B.J. Dennard.
Sophomore place kicker Nick Folk was 2-of-3 on extra points and freshman Jason Bondzio was 1-of-1.
Arizona’s offense and defense both combined for 10 penalties. The offense had six and the defense had four.
Before the scrimmage Head Coach Mike Stoops thanked the crowd for their support and introduced the six team captains for the 2004 season. They include Keoki Fraser, Mike Bell, Steve Fleming, Darrell Brooks, Carlos Williams and Andre Torrey.
The scrimmage ended Arizona’s 2004 fall training camp. The players will rest Sunday and Monday, before preparations for the Wildcats’ season opener versus Northern Arizona at Arizona Stadium on Sept. 4 begin.