Cats Back to Grind

Aug. 18, 2008

GALLERY: Wildcats participate in Leadership Reaction Courses with U.S. Army troops

TUCSON - The Arizona football team returned to the practice field this morning after taking Sunday off to rest following a four-day getaway to Fort Huachuca. The team came out rusty at the Rincon Vista Complex, but picked up the intensity to finish strong.


'We started out slowly,' head coach Mike Stoops said after practice. 'It's a typical Monday after having most of the weekend off. We need to come out with more excitement and keep that intensity throughout practice.'


Before station drills, there was a short focus on field goals. Redshirt senior, Jason Bondzio, was four-for-four with field goals coming from distances of 29, 29, 34 and 37.


After station drills, the offense, in the white jerseys, worked on running the ball. The carries were divided up between Nic Grigsby, Xavier Smith, Nick Booth and Keola Antolin.


The seven-on-seven passing period saw senior Willie Tuitama complete nine-of-14 passes for 60 yards. Of the nine completions, Tuitama connected with eight different receivers. Redshirt sophomore, Joe Perkins, had the first of his three pass break ups on the day during the session.


Freshman, Matt Scott, completed six-of-nine passes for 98 yards and one touchdown. Scott hooked up with redshirt junior Derick Barkum for a 50-yard scoring strike on the left side.


The first 11-on-11 segment was the blitz period. Tuitama completed five of six passes for 48 yards. The catch of the day occurred when Tuitama threw a pass over the middle to redshirt junior Terrell Reese. The ball was tipped by junior safety, Cam Nelson, but freshman Juron Criner stayed with the play and had a 15-yard pick up. Criner had two receptions for 25 yards.


During the same blitz period, Scott struggled, completing two passes in eight attempts for 13 yards. Perkins had is second passes break up, while defensive end, Brooks Reed, had a batted ball at the line of scrimmage. Junior corner, Lamonte Long, picked off one of Scott's throws, but was negated because the defense jumped off sides.


The next 11-on-11 period focused on third and short situations. The offense converted five first downs in 10 attempts, including two by Grigsby who carried twice for a total of five yards. Fullback Chris Gronkowski had one rush for one yard, which resulted in a first down.


Both Smith and Booth each had a carry for two yards, but did not pick up first downs. Senior Adrian McCovy forced a fumble and D'Aundre Reed registered a 'sack.' Both Tuitama and Scott had one pass attempt, but neither was completed.


The last 11-on-11 period had the offense moving the ball on first downs. Tuitama completed seven-of-eight pass attempts for 38 yards. Grigsby had two carries for nine yards. Redshirt sophomore, Ricky Elmore, registered a 'sack.'


Scott finished by completing five passes in five attempts for eight yards as the defense only allowed short passes. He also had one carry for six yards, which moved the chains for a first down.  Perkins had is third pass break up of the day while Brooks Reed recorded a 'sack. Redshirt sophomore Lolomana Mikaele also got pressure up the middle and had a batted ball at the line of scrimmage.


The Wildcats will practice again tonight from 6-8 p.m. at the Rincon Vista Complex. Time and location are subject to change for weather and/or field conditions.        


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