Fall Football Training Camp - Day Two
Aug. 9, 2001
TUCSON - The University of Arizona football team picked up the pace a bitin training camp drills, installing more offense and defense and working onkicking situations.
With two practices scheduled Thursday, morning activity was all business.The team won't don full pads until Saturday, but the Wildcats worked inseveral full-line and seven-on-seven passing and rushing sessions withevident enthusiasm.
One concern for coach John Mackovic and special teams coordinator ScottPelluer is finding a punter to replace senior Chris Palic, a married playerand father who left the team the day before reporting date to seekfull-time employment. The No. 2 punter in spring ball, Ramey Peru, willface stiff competition from free safety Clay Hardt, plus coaches arelooking at kickers Gens Goodman, Bobby Gill and freshman Nick Kredit.
'Right now we are looking for hang time and distance, and we are lookingto see who is the most consistent at both. Clay Hardt kicked very well thismorning, and he really impressed me. He saw that there was a need in thatarea, and he came to us very anxious to do a good job,' Mackovic said.
Sophomore punter Ramey Peru is fighting for the top job against severalreturning players and a newcomer.
'We will probably have three or four punters, and we will focus on twoafter a certain period of time, which could be right before our firstgame,' he added.
Quarterbacks fared decently in skeleton passing drills against linebackersand defensive backs in the morning session. Junior Jason Johnson completed4-of-6 passes for 75 yards, sophomore Cliff Watkins was a perfect 5-of-5for 98 yards and a 50-yard touchdown to Brandon Marshall, redshirt freshmanJohn Rattay was 2-of-4 for 18 yards, and true freshman Nic Costa completedhis only attempt for 15 yards. Combined the foursome was 12-of-16 for 206yards.
Sophomore Gary Love caught three passes for 58 yards, and seven otherreceivers caught balls in the morning session.
Cornerback Michael Jolivette intercepted a Johnson pass in a full-linedrill comprised mostly of running plays, although Johnson also hit Marshallfor what would have been a 40-yard score. The play was called back by widereceivers coach Rob Ianello for an illegal formation by one of his players.
Cornerback Anthony Banks, sidelined momentarily by a dislocated littlefinger, caused a fumble later in a drill and also broke up a pass.Defensive ends Austin Uku and Alex Luna and tackle Vince Feula had sacks inthe full-line drill.
Senior defensive end Eli Wnek, an academic all-conference player and one ofthe Cats' expected bright spots, is sidelined with a foot injury butremains positive -- and busy. In the early part of morning practice, he putdown his crutches and worked a sled drill.
'Our defense is very gung ho, and they have that get-after-them type ofattitude. They are doing a nice job out there,' Mackovic said.
Running backs found some daylight against Arizona's defensive units, withhalfbacks Clarence Farmer and Leo Mills each carrying three times for 15yards and freshman Mike Bell toting once for a 10-yard gain.
'Well, they (the running backs) still have a lot to learn, and I would saythat they are doing okay,' Mackovic said. 'It's not just about being ableto run, but we also have to focus on protections and blocking. Our offenseis not built around one thing, so it is good for our running backs to beable to catch the ball in the open field.'
Coaches have moved freshman tight end Carlos Williams to defensive end ina bid to build some depth caused by sidelining injuries to seniors Eli Wnekand Johnny Jackson. Wnek is likely out until October with a stress fracturein his right foot, and Jackson is conditioning but has yet to participatein drills because of lower back pain.
The Cats were to practice from 8 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday then ease up withone late afternoon practice on Friday. Arizona opens the season on the roadat San Diego State in a game to be cablecast nationally on ESPN2 at 7:05p.m. (PDT) on Thursday, Aug. 30.
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