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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona’s offense wins sloppy spring game

Will Ferguson
Will Ferguson / Arizona Daily Wildcat The University of Arizona football team held a scrimmage at Kino Memorial Stadium Saturday, April 14, 2012.

When Rich Rodriguez was introduced as Arizona’s head coach on Nov. 22, 2011, he warned fans that things likely wouldn’t go smoothly during his first spring.

If anyone still had doubts about that, they were erased during Saturday’s annual spring game, which was held at Kino Stadium in front of about 4,800 fans.

The offense fumbled the ball five times, losing three, and the defense allowed three completions of more than 30 yards and 10 touchdowns during the 98-play scrimmage.

“Early, it was not very good,” Rodriguez said. “The turnovers, the pre-snap penalties … we’re not going to be good enough to beat ourselves. Those are things that are correctable.”

Neither team played with a set-in-stone depth chart, and Rodriguez said the coaches were looking to try out different combinations.

Quarterback Matt Scott said the early mistakes might have been a result of jitters from running new schemes in front of a sizable crowd for the first time, and noted that the offense improved as the game went on.

Scott finished with 315 yards and four touchdowns on 22-of-35 passing to go along with 11 yards on the ground. The senior from Corona, Calif., said his rushing numbers were low because quarterbacks were wearing red non-contact jerseys and a play was blown dead whenever a defender got near.

Scott said there isn’t a timeframe for when he’ll feel comfortable in Rodriguez’s read-option offense, but the unit has made massive strides since the beginning of spring practice when it played “like chickens with our head cut off.”

“We’re just going to have to work on it all summer,” Scott said. “We’re going to have a chance to work with these guys without the coaches, so it’s gonna be real crucial. I don’t think (the tempo) is really where we want it yet, but we’re going to keep working to get it there.”

The Wildcats saw 14 different receivers catch a pass, and four of them — Johnny Jackson, Dan Buckner, Tyler Slavin and Richard Morrison — racked up more than 50 yards.

Morrison likely had the most impressive performance of the group despite splitting time at quarterback. He grabbed five catches for 75 yards and two scores and worked as the team’s punt returner during special teams drills.

Arizona picked up 152 rushing yards on 43 carries led by H-back Taimi Tutogi’s 41 yards — 34 of which came on a bruising run where he powered his way through several would-be tacklers.

Daniel Jenkins was impressive despite battling a hamstring injury, picking up 30 yards on five carries, including a 23-yard touchdown run. Ka’Deem Carey tallied 22 yards and a touchdown on four carries and Kylan Butler added 18 yards and a score on eight carries.

The UA’s quarterbacks combined to run for 56 yards on 18 carries.

Defensively, safety Tra’Mayne Bondurant’s six tackles led Arizona and the sophomore also forced a fumble. Jared Tevis recorded five tackles and linebacker Jake Fischer picked up 4.5 tackles and half a sack. Defensive linemen Willie Mobley and Justin Washington also recorded a sack.

Safety Marquis Flowers picked up the game’s only interception, which came off a deflected Morrison pass. Flowers returned the ball 42 yards before being tripped up by Morrison around the 20-yard line.

The Wildcats still have one remaining spring practice — which they will use today — after Rodriguez elected to cancel a practice and review the first scrimmage of the spring in the locker room.

“It’s just something to settle down and realize where we were and where we’re at today,” Mobley said. “Monday is kind of a review of what we did and how hard we worked and how hard we have to work in the summer to be a Pac-12 contender.”

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