Cats Ready For Saturday Scrimmage

Aug. 14, 2009

FORT HUACHUCA – The Arizona football team didn’t show any signs of a physical hangover following its first two-a-day practice as the Wildcats completed their third practice in two days at Warrior/Sentinel Field here on post.

Coaches may have worried that Friday’s morning workout would lack intensity, but with the players back in full pads, any concerns were put to rest as the players were focused and ready for an 8:30 a.m. start.

Friday’s practice followed the same structure as most all UA practices, with the final hour of practice geared towards team drills. While the defense has had the upper hand throughout camp, the Wildcats’ offense has yet to back down and made progress on Friday morning.

Offensive coaches are very happy with the running game, which features returning backs Nic Grigsby and Keola Antolin. A third back, Greg Nwoko, continues to get reps with the first units, and the offensive line is mixing and matching its top two units which has highlighted UA’s depth at the position.

The offense has been operating at less than full strength as a handful of players have been held out of most team drills primarily for precautionary reasons. Delashaun Dean, Rob Gronkowski and Vaughn Dotsy have missed team drills over the last week, and Chris Gronkowski has been limited slightly. But head coach Mike Stoops continues to say that their injuries are not serious and hopes to have all players back within the next week.

The missed time for several of UA’s returnees has allowed some younger players to see increased reps in practice, including wide receivers Juron Criner, Travis Cobb, Terrence Miller and DeWayne Peace, as well as veteran tight end A.J. Simmons.

Sonny Dykes, entering his third season as UA’s offensive coordinator, isn’t concerned about the injury situation, but does attribute some of the offensive struggles to the experience void. He is pleased, however, with the progress that younger players are making and the depth that is being developed.

Dykes’ offensive unit showed improvement against the blitz and allowed the quarterbacks more time to find receivers and make plays on Friday. Success in the passing game was much welcomed for a unit that appears to be strongest on the ground.

That will all be tested on Saturday as coaches will get to see how their players react in game-like situations in a scrimmage at 5:30 p.m. at Buena High School. The scrimmage is open to the public and is expected to consist of about 100 plays.

The Wildcats will begin Saturday with a morning workout at Warrior/Sentinel Field, before heading over to Buena later in the day.


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