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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Football notes: defense shows improvements, Putton a natural at left tackle

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Colin Darland
Colin Darland / Daily Wildcat

The Arizona football team held its second scrimmage on Saturday at the Jimenez Practice Facility and, after struggling through practices and the first scrimmage trying to learn first-year head coach Rich Rodriguez’s system, the Wildcats appeared to make some progress.

In Rodriguez’s eyes, there still appeared to be a bit of an issue with conditioning, but overall it was a step forward.

“I thought there were moments where we looked a little soft and our conditioning showed up again and there were moments where we competed better,” Rodriguez said. “There were small steps.”

On a shortened field of 65 and 50 yards, the offense stood out in the scrimmage with five touchdowns. Arizona also had five touchdowns on possessions starting at the 25-yard line.

Although the offense had the advantage on the day, Rodriguez said he is still seeing improvement out of his defense.

“They were a little bit better, (defensive coordinator Jeff) Casteel had a few more blitzes and every time you blitz, I think it cranks up the intensity a bit,” Rodriguez said. “I thought we tackled better, at least more physical. We still have to get off blocks a little more and you know there are guys on the second unit who didn’t play as hard or physical as they need but the guys tried.

“They’ve been trying, and what’s most important is most of our installation is already in. Now we just gotta get the execution.”

Defensive tackle Justin Washington, who had an interception off a tipped ball on Saturday, said he doesn’t really think that the offense is very far ahead of the defense.

“I like the atmosphere. It’s a hard-working atmosphere, a winning atmosphere,” Washington said. “I don’t think they’re really ahead. We’re all just out here working and trying to get better.”

Standout performers

Quarterback Matt Scott: The Wildcats’ expected starting signal caller went 13-of-20 with 224 yards and two touchdowns on the day. Backup Richard Morrison only played a few snaps due to a sore shoulder.

Running backs: The running back position continues to be Arizona’s deepest this spring. Sophomore Ka’deem Carey led the way with three carries for 63 yards, most of which came on a 60-yard touchdown run. Daniel Jenkins had five carries for 42 yards and a touchdown before leaving the scrimmage when he appeared to tweak his hamstring. Greg Nwoko had 43 yards on four carries and Kylan Butler contributed two touchdowns.

Receivers Tyler Slavin and Garic Wharton: They both had solid days catching passes. Slavin led the way with nine receptions for 85 yards and a touchdown, while Wharton contributed three receptions for 57 yards.

Willie Mobley and Hank Hobson: These two were the clear standouts on defense. Mobley had three tackles for loss and Hobson contributed two sacks.

Putton proving himself at left tackle

Chris Putton, a 6-foot-4, 282-pound junior lineman, stood out on Saturday as he moved away from the guard spot he usually plays and filled in at left tackle.

The Wildcats are thin at the tackle position with Mickey Baucus and Jack Baucus injured. Fabbians Ebbele is being held out as the team waits to find out the results of his criminal trial in relation to his role at a brawl at a local house party last month.

Putton started nine games at guard in 2011 while missing three with an injury, but luckily for the Wildcats, left tackle is his natural position and what he played in high school.

“Chris Putton had a big week in practice and I think he can play tackle,” Rodriguez said. “Moving Chris out to left tackle has been a really good move for us so far, so I think we can play him at both guard and tackle.”

Sophomore Eric Bender-Ramsay ran with the second unit at left tackle and impressed Rodriguez.

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