Arizona's defense gained the upper hand at Thursday night's practice to conclude the first two-a-day at Fort Huachuca.
Aug. 9, 2012
Fall Camp Central
SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. - The Arizona football team enjoyed a pleasant evening at Fort Huachuca on Thursday as the Wildcats wrapped up the second of two practices at the Warrior/Sentinel fields.
The retreat to this part of Southern Arizona offered a respite from the triple-digit temperatures in Tucson, which was much-welcomed by coaches and players on Thursday, who conducted their first two-a-day workout of the preseason camp. Temperatures were in the low to mid-80s for most of the morning practice, and dipped back down to the low-80s by the time the Wildcats wrapped up the evening session by 8 p.m.
After a light morning workout, the Wildcats strapped on full pads for the evening session. The first hour of the evening was spent working on individual and group drills, and some special teams situations.
When the team came together for 7-on-7 skeleton and 11-on-11 team drills, the defense stole the show. The men in blue jerseys dominated their offensive counterparts during several periods which focused on third down conversions. In the final drills of practice, the defense turned back the offense on all six attempts to score on a "final play of the game" with the ball spotted inside the 10-yard line.
"You can see what happens when everybody plays with the same excitement and urgency together on the same side of the ball," head coach Rich Rodriguez told his team after practice. "Ideally the defense will win one play, then the offense will win the next and we'll go back and forth. But that won't happen unless everyone on the field is playing with the same urgency all the time."
The offense, which had a crisp morning practice, still made several big plays over the course of the evening. None of those came in the "last play" situations at the end, however, and few came on third downs. Even so, the offensive pace continues to pick up each day as the first full scrimmage of camp nears.
The Wildcats will practice once on Friday - in the morning on post - and then return for two workouts on Saturday. The morning session on Saturday figures to be lighter and geared toward the mental aspects of the game in advance of the Saturday evening scrimmage.
Arizona football will open the 2012 season on September 1, facing Toledo at 7:30 p.m. on ESPNU. Tickets are available at the McKale Center Ticket office, by visiting ArizonaWildcats.com or by calling 520-621-2287 or 1-800-452-CATS.