Day 1 at Ft. Huachuca in the Books

Aug. 13, 2009

FORT HUACHUCA – The Arizona Wildcats completed their first two-a-day of Fall Camp on Thursday evening with an enthusiastic two-hour practice at Warrior/Sentinel Field at Fort Huachuca.

After a morning workout in full pads, players donned only shoulder pads and helmets. Even so, the practice routine was nearly the same, as players worked full-speed through various individual, group, special teams and team drills beginning at 6 p.m.

The Wildcats were welcomed by gorgeous weather conditions with mostly cloudy skies and temperatures in the 70s just a few hours after the morning showers cleared. A contingent of U.S. Army personnel on post looked on, including Major General John Custer III, the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca.

The scattering of soldiers included a handful from a 170-person Human Intelligence class that completed graduation ceremonies today. Nearly half of the graduating class is expected to be deployed overseas within the next six months. Head coach Mike Stoops and his staff, along with the players, mingled and chatted with the soldiers throughout the practice.

At times, it can seem a little backwards with some of the world’s top soldiers looking on in admiration of a bunch of college football players. But that is the very the reason the Wildcats have returned to Fort Huachuca; to learn some of the values that make the U.S. Army an unbeatable team.

Among those traits are certainly communication, leadership and perseverance. And while there is no comparison between the battles fought, the Wildcats do appear to be learning a bit about themselves from their own practice battles in front of the soldiers.

The Arizona defense, which has returned eight starters from a Top-25 national unit a year ago, has been relentless against an offense looking to reassert itself as one of the Pac-10’s best. Speed, aggressiveness and a dominating mindset have been the rule for the defensive unit that has given the offense fits, particularly on Thursday.

All three levels of the defense – the front four, linebackers and secondary – have been nearly flawless in recent days in defending the pass. The offense has seen some success in the rushing game, but will work to improve its pass protection in the coming days.

Next up is a single practice on Friday morning at 8:15 a.m. Arizona will then host another two-a-day on Saturday, with a morning practice serving as a warm-up for an open scrimmage at Buena High School set for 5:30 p.m.


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