Defense Dominates Day 6
Aug. 11, 2009
TUCSON – The weather was nearly perfect and the intensity was ramped up as the Arizona Football team hosted its sixth practice of the 2009 Fall Camp at Salpointe Catholic High School on Tuesday morning.
Donning full pads for the second consecutive day, the Wildcats worked through their daily individual and group drills underneath overcast skies that kept temperatures comfortably in the low 80s all morning long.
Coaches mixed up the daily practice just a bit to close practice, running a 35-minute scrimmage to close practice. While full tackling was not allowed, plays were run at the full speed with the offense looking to move the ball up and down the field against the defense. The scrimmage afforded coaches the opportunity to see players from the top two and three units in game-like situations.
“Well we’re still a little more than three weeks away from our first game, so in that respect we have some time,” head coach Mike Stoops said when asked about naming starters. “We have a pretty good idea of who will be in most spots in each position. We just want to continue to see everyone strive for competition.”
The defense dominated the first 15 minutes of play, stifling the offense on each of the first three series. Sophomore quarterback Nick Foles had the controls of the offense on the first two series, but it was junior defensive end Brooks Reed who stole the show.
Reed, who recorded seven sacks in the final seven games of 2009, broke through for a sack on the first play of the scrimmage. He nearly recorded a second sack on the next snap and his pressure on Foles forced the signal-caller out of the pocket to throw the ball away. With the offense facing a third-and-15, Reed teamed with Donald Horton to again pressure Foles and force an incompletion.
The defense forced a second consecutive three-and-out on the next series, before Matt Scott stepped in at quarterback. UA went to the ground game with Scott under center as the offense picked up a first down on a 14-yard carry by Keola Antolin on third-and-four.
Despite another stop three plays later, the offense found some success on the ground for the fourth series. The offense picked up four first downs – all via the rush – as Nic Grigsby, Antolin, Scott and Chris Gronkowski all moved the chains.
With second-and-goal at the 10-yard line, Scott completed just his second pass in six attempts when he found freshman receiver DeWayne Peace in the endzone for a touchdown.
Foles then stepped back in at quarterback for the final series, moving the offense inside opposing territory. But the drive stalled on a fumble off the snap with Apaiata Tuihalamaka recovering it for the defense.
On the day, Foles completed 6-of-10 passes for 22 yards, while Scott connected on 2-of-6 attempts for 16 yards. The running game featured more success, with Antolin leading the way with 46 yards on five carries.
The Wildcats will take Wednesday off to complete Summer Session II academic courses before packing up camp and heading to Fort Huachuca. Arizona will host its first two-a-day practice on Thursday at Warrior/Sentinel Field at Fort Huachuca. The first practice begins at 7:30 a.m., with the second session slated for 6:15 p.m.
“Going down to Fort Huachuca was extremely beneficial for our team last season,” said Stoops of taking camp to Fort Huachuca. “To get an opportunity to see what sacrifices they have made for our country is outstanding not only for the players, but for us as coaches as well. To really understand their sacrifices and learn a sense of leadership will really help our team again this year.”
The public is invited to watch the practices on Fort Huachuca. Visitors to the fort must present a driver's license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.
Fort Huachuca Practice Schedule
Thursday, Aug. 13 Practice 7:30 a.m.
Practice 6:15 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 14 Practice 8:30 a.m.
Saturday, Aug. 15 Practice 8:30 a.m.
Scrimmage 5:30 p.m. (Buena HS)
Sunday, Aug. 16 No practice; Team-building day