Offensive Pace Picks Up

Aug. 7, 2009

TUCSON – The second practice of the Arizona Football team’s Fall Camp was much like the initial workout on Wednesday with the exception of better offensive execution at Salpointe Catholic High School.

Led by efficient passing by quarterbacks Nick Foles and Matt Scott, the offense appeared to show significant progress from 24 hours previously, effectively throwing the football on an experienced Arizona defense that has split its repetitions among its first several units.

“I thought our guys were a little bit better today,” said head coach Mike Stoops.  “The kids competed hard. I thought offensively we were a little sharper than were showed yesterday.”

After two days of practice, many on-lookers have wondered if one of the two primary options at quarterback has emerged as the potential starter. If Friday’s practice was any indication, the competition is only heating up.

Foles and Scott have been splitting equal repetitions over the past two days, with the two switching back and forth as the initial starter in each practice period.

On Friday, Foles took the lead snaps in the 7-on-7 period, completing 12-of-13 pass attempts for 94 yards while spreading the ball around to eight different receivers with Bug Wright leading the way with four catches.

Scott took the second set of reps and continued the workmanlike effort for the offense. The sophomore completed 8-of-9 passes for 98 yards.

In the 11-on-11 team period to end practice, Foles led things off for the offense and completed 5-of-7 passes for 27 yards. But, his final pass attempt was picked off by cornerback Trevin Wade who stepped in front of Devin Veal on an out-route.

The interception gave the defense some momentum heading into the final half of the period as Scott took over the offense. While Scott completed 4-of-6 attempts for 18 yards, the defense made a trio of big plays.

Defensive lineman Jonathon Hollins and linebacker/defensive back Corey Hall broke up passes on consecutive plays, while Earl Mitchell broke through one play later for a “sack” on Scott.

The Wildcats showed more running plays on Friday, including involvement from the wide receivers. The quarterbacks also showed good scrambling ability throughout the team drills, gaining yards after downfield coverage by the secondary broke some plays down.

One of the only negatives to come from Friday’s practice was an injury sustained by Nic Grigsby during 7-on-7 drills. The junior running back rolled his ankle and sat out the remainder of practice, and while Stoops was not certain of a timeframe for Grigsby’s return, he did not think it would be a long-term injury.

At days end, coaches were pleased with the overall effort and improvement the team has made in just two days.

“These first couple days are good for many of our freshmen and younger players,” said Stoops. “There is a lot of learning going on out here. Most of our veterans are familiar with everything going on. That being said, I’m excited for tomorrow’s practice.”

The action will ramp up a bit more on Saturday as the players don shoulder pads for the first time. Saturday’s practice is set for 8 a.m. at Salpointe Catholic High School.


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