Arizona Football Begins Two-a-Days Monday

Aug. 10, 2003

TUCSON, Ariz. - The University of Arizona football team held its first practice in full pads Sunday afternoon and had a 90-minute workout in the UA practice field.

'We had our first practice in full pads, today and we had a good workout,' head coach John Mackovic said following today's fifth practice. 'We cut practice a little short today because we wanted the players to get acclimated to practicing in full pads in the heat. I feel really good about the five-day acclimation period because it gives us the opportunity to go at a good pace and not have guys worn down.'

The Wildcats are now set to begin two-a-day practice sessions in earnest on Monday, August 11, with practices scheduled for 6:20 a.m. and 7:05 p.m. at the Rincon Vista facility. They will practice in shells (helmets and shoulder pads) during the morning session and full pads in the evening.

'We are doing a lot, and we are going to be adding a bunch of things in the next few days. We are also glad that we were able to get the rookies in right away to practice with the rest of the team because they have learned so much more by jumping in and doing more right from the start,' Mackovic said.

For the fifth session, head coach John Mackovic and the Wildcats continued to focus on fundamentals and position drills, with a greater focus on the full-line and seven-on-seven passing and rushing sessions. The competition at quarterback between sophomore Nic Costa and redshirt freshman Ryan O'Hara continued to take center stage, and Mackovic is encouraged by their improvement through five days of training camp.

'Nic (Costa) is a very strong quarterback. He is smart, and he definitely knows the offense inside and out,' Mackovic said. 'I am not interested in a two quarterback system, but both of them (Costa and O'Hara) could play at some point if they are effective. I would rather have them both battle it out until the end. Both Nic and Ryan have made some good plays so far in camp.'

Mackovic also has been pleased by the improvement shown on both sides of the ball, citing strides made on the offensive line and the entire defensive unit.

'We have a lot more depth on the offensive line than we did last year. We have to make sure that they continue to keep their feet going, and they have to be in very good shape because it is a physical game inside,' Mackovic said.

'With a new defensive scheme, we just have to make sure that the defense gets disciplined and does what it is supposed to do. Every defense is demanding, but we just need to continue to work hard and get everyone to fly around the ball,' he added.

Arizona's two-a-day sessions are limited to five days throughout training camp, which ends on Friday, August 22. The Wildcats will hold double practice sessions three times this week before participating in Fan Appreciation Night festivities and a scrimmage on Saturday, August 16, at Arizona Stadium.

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