Arizona Spring Football Notes - Day 12

April 18, 2003

TUCSON, Ariz. - The University of Arizona football team held its third and final spring scrimmage at Arizona Stadium Friday afternoon. The scrimmage consisted of nearly 80 plays, which was highlighted by the offense's six touchdown passes and the defense's nine sacks.

Head coach John Mackovic and the Arizona coaching staff put the Wildcats through position drills for 30 minutes to open today's practice session, and then the team scrimmaged for about 1:30 minutes.

'We got a lot of work done today,' Mackovic said. 'The defense came out and did a terrific job with the run and pass defense. Then, the offense picked things up, and the key for us today was being able to throw as much and as well as we did.'

Quarterbacks Ryan O'Hara and John Rattay split most of the duty in today's scrimmage. O'Hara led the offensive attack with four touchdown passes, and he completed 10-of-11 passes for 187 yards, with his lone incompletion coming on the last play of the scrimmage. Rattay completed 7-of-13 passes for 89 yards and had two touchdowns and a dropped pass. O'Hara had touchdown passes of 50, 45, 27 and nine yards, while Rattay threw touchdown passes of five and 26 yards.

Sophomore Nic Costa played in one series at the beginning of the scrimmage and finished the day 1-of-2 for one yard. He was sidelined after a few plays with a finger injury, which he suffered in Thursday's practice. Redshirt freshman Adam Austin saw limited action and completed 1-of-3 passes for six yards.

'Nic (Costa) hit his finger yesterday, so he didn't play very much today. John (Rattay) and Ryan (O'Hara) both did a good job, and they threw very well. They did a good job of finding some different people, and they picked up the receivers and made some throws underneath. We have tried to teach the quarterbacks how to stay alive in the pocket, and they did a nice job today. They were much improved in that regard,' Mackovic said.

The quarterbacks combined to hit 10 different receivers. O'Hara led the quarterbacks with the longest pass of the day, as he hit Andrae Thurman for a 50-yard touchdown strike.

Senior wide receiver Andrae Thurman led all receivers with five receptions for 115 yards and two touchdowns. Redshirt freshman Mike Jefferson had two catches for 70 yards and a touchdown. Junior Ricky Williams had two receptions for 30 yards, and he caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from Rattay near the end of the scrimmage. Senior Lance Relford caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from O'Hara, and he finished the day with two catches for 15 yards. Sophomore fullback Gilbert Harris had two catches for 15 yards and a touchdown.

The Wildcat receiving corps only had one dropped pass, an improvement from nine dropped balls in the first spring scrimmage two weeks ago.

Sophomore running back Mike Bell led all rushers with seven carries for 28 yards, an average of four yards per carry. Junior halfback Chris Harris finished with 11 carries for 11 yards, while Beau Carr had seven totes for six yards. Gilbert Harris rushed two times for a yard, and Thurman had a rush for six yards on a reverse play.

Arizona's defense sacked the Wildcat quarterbacks for a combined nine times, which matched the defense's best sack total from the first spring scrimmage. Redshirt freshman defensive end Paul Philipp led the team with three sacks, while sophomores Brad Brittain and Marcus Smith each contributed two sacks. Senior cornerback Michael Jolivette and junior tackle David Sharp added one sack apiece. Philipp forced a fumble, which was recovered by the offense, late in the scrimmage. Smith, junior tackle Carlos Williams and junior corner Luis Nunez each broke up a pass.

The Wildcat defense also tallied seven tackles for loss on the day.

'Defensively, the outside linebacker corps made a lot of good plays today, and the defensive backs like Gary Shepard and Gary Love made some big plays,' Mackovic added.

Senior placekicker Bobby Gill converted on 1-of-2 field goal attempts, connecting on a 32-yard attempt and missing from 36 yards. Redshirt freshman Nicholas Folk converted on 3-of-3 point-after-touchdown attempts, while Gill made 2-of-2 PAT attempts.

Prior to the scrimmage, the coaching staff also had the opportunity to evaluate two punters. Senior James Molina had four punts for 175 yards, an average of 43.8 yards per punt. Sophomore Danny Baugher punted four times for 180 yards, an average of 45.0 yards per punt.

The team had eight total penalties during the scrimmage, five on the offense and three on the defense.

'We went through some different situations at the end of the scrimmage. We weren't perfect, but it is important that the players get a feel for what it is like so that they will know what to do in the actual game,' Mackovic said. 'Here, they get a chance to do things over, but they won't in a real game situation.'

Arizona has three practices remaining on the spring schedule. The Wildcats will practice on Monday, April 21, at 4:30 p.m., and Tuesday, April 22, at 4:30 p.m. The team will conclude sessions with the final practice on Thursday, April 24, at 6:30 p.m.

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