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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


“Football begins, questions remain”

Four days into official practice, the Arizona Wildcat football team has yet to answer the questions raised by fans and media.

Where is the linebacker depth? Who’s going to start at quarterback?

But that’s OK, coaches said.

“”We’re not making decisions anytime soon,”” offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes said of the quarterback situation. “”We’ve got to give these guys the opportunity to come out here and have a chance to compete over a certain amount of practices.””

The same theory holds true for the position battles across the board.

The practices have given head coach Mike Stoops and Co. a good look at their freshmen and community college transfers, and just two days into pads, practice is mostly about learning the system. Once that happens, then the coaching staff can make final decisions about who starts and who does not.

“”Everything is real complex, it’s all about technique and having your fundamentals right,”” said freshmen safety Adam Hall. “”In high school you could get away with natural ability and raw talent but here, everything has to do with your drops, your technique, from lifting to being in the classroom.””

Both sophomore Matt Scott and redshirt sophomore Nick Foles have been getting nearly equal amount of reps at quarterback. Likewise, they have shared days of struggle and days of success.

On Saturday, the offense sputtered with the two-minute drill and from what the coaches were telling the players on the field, it was clear they were unhappy. But the defense has been living up to expectations of a unit that should return eight starters.

“”Shut us up!”” defensive players challenged the offense – the offense didn’t.

In the second, third and fourth practices, Arizona quarterbacks have gotten picked off. Cornerback Trevin Wade continued to be a ball-hawk Friday, deflecting one pass and intercepting another during the final half-hour of practice.

Sunday’s practice ended with an interception as Scott flung a pass towards the endzone with the clock running down to zero. Junior cornerback Mike Turner got under the ball and caught the pass in the endzone before coaches blew their whistles, signaling the end of another strong defensive outing.

“”(I) think we’re competing harder, the last couple of days have been much better,”” Stoops said Saturday. “”Obviously, the offense is going to take a little bit of time to get caught up, but they will and I like the way we’re working.””

Dykes said the offense has been installed in thirds, meaning the practice was the first in which the new players had been challenged with using the entire scheme. He went out of his way to give praise to the offensive line, a unit with question marks of its own after losing offensive tackle Eben Britton to the NFL.

Arizona will continue practices throughout the week and will move their workouts to Fort Huachuca, Ariz., Thursday.

“”It felt good to get back going and hitting a little bit,”” senior safety Cam Nelson said after suiting up in pads. “”(We’re) just out here trying to get some work in so we can bring the town back another big bowl game.””

Injury report

Running back Nic Grigsby, whose ankle was caught in a pile Friday, was back at practice on Saturday and Sunday.

“”My ankle got bent pretty bad, and it’s still pretty sore right now,”” Grigsby said. “”I told coach Stoops, ‘Man, I’m on another mission, I can’t miss out on practice.'””

“”I don’t like spectating,”” Grigsby added. “”I was thinking like man, I’m going to be in a visor with a piece of a paper in my hand coaching.””

Tight end Rob Gronkowski and receiver Delashaun Dean have sat out of the team drills for the last few practices because of unspecified soreness.

Meanwhile, tight end Tyler Lyon has been sidelined with a knee injury

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