TUCSON ?C The University of Arizona football team returned to the Rincon Vista Complex for a pair of open practices after taking Sunday off and holding a closed scrimmage inside Arizona Stadium on Saturday morning.
Head coach Mike Stoops met with the media for the first time since Friday night following the evening session, and spoke about Saturdayˇ?s scrimmage as well as Mondayˇ?s two-a-day.
"I thought today was another good day of work," Stoops said. "I like what weˇ?re doing."
Arizona will continue its 2007 Fall Camp with a single practice on Tuesday evening beginning at 5:45 p.m. at the Rincon Vista Complex. As always, time and location is subject to change due to weather and field conditions.
Sporting only shoulder pads and helmets, the Wildcats hit the practice fields at the Rincon Vista complex for a two and a half hour workout, capping the second two-a-day practice of Fall Camp.
Without the full pads, the evening practice was a bit lighter than the morning workout, but that didnˇ?t mean it was an efficient practice. The players again worked through their daily drills, including individual, group, special teams, 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 segments.
Willie Tuitama was given the evening off from participating in 7-on-7 action. Senior Kris Heavner handled the majority of the duties, while splitting time with freshmen Tyler Lyon and Bryson Beirne.
Heavner was solid throughout, completing 9-of-13 pass attempts. He got off to a quick start, connecting on nine of his first 10 throws, including a 10-yarder to Chris Jennings to begin the drill. He later connected with Terrell Reese for nine yards, and B.J. Dennard for 12 yards. The big play of the session came when Heavner read man-to-man coverage and threw a ball up for Reese to run under, as he had Devin Ross beaten by a step. The play went for 35 yards down the left sideline.
Lyon and Beirne kept things going for the offense, completing 4-of-6 passes and 4-of-4 passes respectively. Lyonˇ?s first completion was to Derick Barkum, who made his first catch in a live drill in camp. Lyon also completed passes to Reese for 15 yards and Dennard for 11.
In 11-on-11 action, Heavner again took the first several snaps as the defense worked on its blitz packages. Heavner completed his first two passes, a five-yarder to Mike Thomas and a six-yarder to Delashaun Dean, before his third attempt was broken up by Ross, who was again matched up with Reese on a fade route.
The defense remained stout as it put pressure on the quarterbacks. While there was obviously no tackling of the QBs, Ricky Elmore, Lionel Dotson and Louis Holmes each recorded a "sack", while Johnathan Turner worked his way into the backfield for a pair of sacks.
Tuitama saw action during the team segment, but had trouble getting large chunks of yardage threw the air. With Tuitama in, the longest play actually came on the ground, as Jennings found some running room for a 15-yard scamper.
To close practice, the ball was put on the 20-yard line, as the two teams worked on red zone situations. On the first series, the offense faced a third-and-two from the 12-yard line, when Tuitama connected with Thomas for a nine yard gain to move the ball to the two yard line. On the next play, Tuitama dumped a pass to Jennings, who raced to the corner of the end zone. He was matched up on Spencer Larsen, and with no live tackling, it was impossible to determine the outcome of the play. Two plays later, Tuitama found Rob Gronkowski in the endzone for a two-yard scoring strike.
- Wide receiver Derick Barkum, a junior college San Diego Mesa CC, was officially cleared to join the team at the end of last week. He ran routes with the receivers in warm-ups prior to Saturdayˇ?s scrimmage, as well as in both practices on Monday. He will wear jersey No. 89.
- The Wildcat offensive coaching staff has begun calling plays from the
sidelines for the 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 segments, instead of in the huddle as they were early in camp. While not in as much action as normal in the evening period, Tuitama helped offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes relay plays to the huddle.
Head Coach Mike Stoops
On Mondayˇ?s practices:
"I thought today was another good day of work. I like what weˇ?re doing."
On Saturdayˇ?s controlled scrimmage:
"I thought it was good, overall. We put the ball on the ground too much, maybe two or three times. I thought Willie protecting the football. Our quarterbacks were something like 37-57 and we ran about 96 or 97 plays. Everything seemed to go well."
On the defense during Saturdayˇ?s controlled scrimmage:
"I thought we were in good position about 95 percent of the time. There were three or four plays where we let guys get behind us. Our tackling was kind of spotty, but thatˇ?s what happens your first time with live hitting."
On the wide receiver spot:
"I think Coach Wyatt has done a fabulous job with the receivers. Weˇ?re deep at wide receiver right now."
"I think we are developing some solid depth."
On tight end Rob Gronkowskiˇ?s five catches for 77 yards and a touchdown in Saturdayˇ?s scrimmage:
"He is a legitimate weapon at tight end with his size and speed. He can make a big difference for us."
On the arrival of junior college transfer WR Derick Barkum:
"Derick looks good. Iˇ?ve been impressed with his first couple of days. I like what I have seen so far. He looks like a very legitimate wide receiver.
Wide receiver Derick Barkum
On joining the team:
"It felt real good. Itˇ?s good to be out here with the team. Weˇ?re looking good as a team right now."
On having to miss the first 10 days of camp awaiting clearance to play:
"It was real frustrating. You canˇ?t run with the team or weight lift with the team. I did some stuff on my own, but Iˇ?ve still got to get into football shape."
On the differences between JC football and Division I football:
"Speed is the biggest difference. Then itˇ?s the mental part ?C knowing where to line up and where to be on each play."
The Wildcats donned full pads for the first of two practices on a sunny and hot day in Tucson. After Sundayˇ?s off day, players were rested but perhaps a bit rusty as well, particularly the offense which seemed out of sync despite putting up over 500 yards of total offense on Saturday.
In 7-on-7 action, Willie Tuitama got off to a slow start, but he wasnˇ?t getting much help from his receiving corps, as Delashaun Dean and Xavier Smith dropped the first two passes from the junior signal caller. Then, Antoine Cason knocked away Tuitamaˇ?s third pass, which was intended for Terrell Reese.
Tuitama and the offense found a bit more rhythm after the rough start. He completed a five-yarder to mike Thomas, and then found B.J. Dennard open for 13 yards. In all, he finished 9-of-14 during the drill.
Kris Heavner also took snaps during the skelton passing segment, completing 5-og-8 attempts. His longest was his first attempt, an 18-yard completion to Anthony Johnson.
For the final half hour, the offense and defense came together for 11-on-11 work. The defense again had the upper hand as the blue jerseys broke up a couple passes, recorded a pair of "sacks", and shut down several plays for little or no gain.
The offense did make things any easier on itself, as Dean and Earl Mitchell dropped passes, and a bad snap caused one play to be blown dead immediately.
In the team drill, Tuitama completed 9-of-18 passes, with the longest being an 18-yarder to Dean on a skinny post route. He also completed passes of 11 yards to David Roberts and eight yards to A.J. Simmons.
Heavner finished 4-of-6 passing, with a long completion of 13 yards to Reese.
Defensively, Xavier Kelley made his presence known throughout, breaking up a pass and putting a hard shoulder pad-to-shoulder pad hit on Chris Jennings to stuff a run attempt at the line of scrimmage.