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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Notes: Arizona football opens fall camp

The Arizona football team opened its fall camp with a practice in helmets early Thursday morning. Defenses are usually further along than offenses early in the season, and that holds especially true when the team isn’t wearing pads. But football’s back, and here’s what happened at the season’s first practice: 

  • Quarterback Nick Foles and receiver Juron Criner looked like they haven’t missed a beat over the offseason. Their timing was off on a few patterns, but they connected much more often than not when the ball was thrown Criner’s way. Criner’s route running was also sharp, getting separation against anyone that lined up across from him. 

  • As would be expected with an offensive line featuring five new starters, the running game was inconsistent. It’s hard for the O-line to get any sort of push without pads, and run plays seemed to alternate between gains of 20 or more yards and a stop in the backfield. 

  • Redshirt running back Kylan Butler had an impressive day. He broke a few long runs to go along with some long runs after the catch out of the backfield. Freshman back Ka’Deem Carey looked didn’t get many reps, but it was his first practice at the D-I level — the speed of the game will take some getting used to. 

  • Sophomore cornerback Jonathan McKnight was working with the first group on defense opposite of Trevin Wade. Senior Rob Golden and sophomore Marquis Flowers, who was wearing No. 2 instead of last year’s No. 4, manned the safety spots. McKnight returned an interception for a touchdown after the ball was tipped at the line in 11-on-11 drills. 

  • Linebacker David Lopez was also working with the first group on defense. Lopez is in his first season at Arizona after transferring from Cerritos Community College in Norwalk, Calif. 

  • Most of the players that suffered knee injuries during the fall seemed to be moving around pretty well. Running back Greg Nwoko and safety Adam Hall were both doing drills on their own for much of the practice. Defensive tackle Willie Mobley also seemed to be moving around pretty well after suffering an ACL tear while playing basketball. I didn’t see linebacker Jake Fischer, but I probably just missed him. 

  • Arizona’s talent at receiver was evident. Once you get past Criner and maybe Buckner, everyone else seems to be at the same level of play. There were only one or two dropped balls that I saw today, and everyone has the ability to get yards after the catch. This could be one of the best groups in the country. 

So all-in-all, the day went about as expected. Both the offense and defense made some plays, and rust was evident on both sides of the ball at times. Check back with for more coverage of Arizona’s fall football camp. 

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