TUCSON ?C The University of Arizona football team held its second practice of its 2007 Fall Camp on Friday night at the Rincon Vista Complex. Once again, players worked out in only practice shirts and shorts along with their helmets.
For a second day in a row, very pleasant conditions welcomed the Wildcats for a 5:30 p.m. start. The team again worked through its basic drills, including individual, group, team and special teams segments.
One obvious difference between Thursdayˇ?s practice and Fridayˇ?s was the rhythm the offense seemed to find throughout the evening, especially during the 7-on-7 passing session. Willie Tuitama again took the majority of the snaps, and spread the ball around nicely to his receivers.
After connecting on just two of his first five attempts, Tuitama and the offense began to click following a five yard reception by Terrell Reese. The next play was a 20-yard throw and catch to Anthony Johnson.
Tuitama then hit his next four receivers for gains of 4, 10, 8 and 5 yards. After back-to-back incompletions, the highlight of the session came when he connected with Anthony Johnson on a skinny post route between defensive backs for a 30-yard gain, which surely would have gone for a touchdown if the play continued.
On his next three attempts, Tuitama found Rob Gronkowski for a gain of 12 yards, Delashaun Dean for eight yards, and Reese for 10 more yards.
Tyler Lyon then stepped in for his first action of camp, as he completed six of 10 attempts. His longest completion of the night was a 10-yarder to Dean, who hauled in his third grab of the session.
In 11-on-11 action, Tuitama quickly established a favorite target in senior wide receiver Anthony Johnson. The San Diego native caught two five-yard passes over the middle in between defenders in the first four plays. Tuitama then opened things up a bit, as he layed a perfect pop pass in to tight end Travis Bell for 15 yards over the middle, which could have gone for more, but the whistle was blown dead and no tackling was allowed.
The offense then looked for the short game, as Chris Jennings rushed for no gain, hauled in a two-yard completion, and then was dropped for a four-yard loss on a screen pass as Dane Krogstad knifed through to brake up the play.
Later in the drill, the offense began to find more rhythm. Mike Thomas caught a 15-yard pass from Tuitama, before Jennings scampered for 10+ yards on a perfectly executed screen play.
Fall Camp Schedule Update: Tomorrowˇ?s practice will be CLOSED to the public and media. The practice, originally slated for 5:45 p.m. has been moved up to a morning workout. Consequently, the teamˇ?s Media Day activities have been moved from the morning to the afternoon. Media Day will now be held from 1-3 p.m. in McKale Center.
Day 2 Notes and Highlights:
- True freshman defensive end?Ron Jackson?suffered a hip injury during practice that required medical attention. Coach Mike Stoops confirmed the injury after practice, but he did not immediately know the extent of the injury.
- During 7-on-7 drills, 10 different Wildcats hauled in passes from UA quarterbacks. Leading the way was Anthony Johnson, who caught three passes, including one for 20-yards and another for 30-yards. The latter would have gone for a touchdown if the play were allowed to continue.
- Redshirt freshmen wide receivers Delashaun Dean and Terrell Reese also caught three passes apiece, including a 10-yarder for each.
- Preseason All-American Antoine Cason broke up Tuitamaˇ?s first pass attempt during 7-on-7 drills. Fellow CB Marquis Hundley also recorded a PBU during the session.
- During 11-on-11 action, the team ran 26 passing plays against six rushing plays. It should be noted, however, that much of the teamˇ?s rush defense and rush offense work is implemented during the middle drill segment.
- Eight different players caught passes during the team segment, led by Chris Jennings with four catches. Travis Bell had the longest reception, a 15-yarder down the middle that could have gone farther if the play was not blown dead.
- Dane Krogstad recorded what would have been a tackle for loss after he read read perfectly a screen pass to Jennings.
- Marquis Hundley recorded a pass breakup during the team period, as did safety Nate Ness.
- Up front, Jason Parker batted down a Tyler Lyon pass and Josh Lewis knocked down another, while the defensive unit also recorded a coverage sack against Willie Tuitama and the offense.
- Former Arizona Associate Athletics Director Chris Del Conte, who is currently the Athletics Director at Rice University, paid a visit to practice to visit with old friends from the athletic department, including head coach Mike Stoops.
Day 2 Quotes:
Head Coach Mike Stoops
"I thought it was another really good day for us. I think today was our best day offensively that we have had all along going back to spring practice. Weˇ?re finding some space and keeping the defense off balance."
"I thought Tyler Lyon did some really good things out there today."
On the running back situation:
"Chris Jennings is our No. 1 guy right now and Xavier Smith is No. 2. We are kind of feeling our way through with guys from there."
"Chris (Jennings) has played really well. Heˇ?s really focused right now. He has slimmed down some since last year and is quicker and more explosive."
Defensive coordinator Mark Stoops:
"I feel like we have a veteran group on defense. We just canˇ?t get ahead of ourselves. We have to keep getting better. That sounds like a clich??, but itˇ?s really not; itˇ?s the truth."
Wide receiver Mike Thomas:
On the new offense:
"Itˇ?s been good. There is a big change from spring until now. We have more intensity and we are playing faster. We have some more swagger out there on the field."
Cornerback Antoine Cason
"You have got to love the competition out here. Itˇ?s the only way to get better, Guys are fighting and working hard."
On the new offense and how it is helping prepare the defense for teamˇ?s like BYU:
"We need them (the offense) to thrown the ball to have the secondary and linebackers get used to this offense."