Cats kickoff spring practice

They may have started two weeks late, but Arizona football gets back to work. Spring practice begins with a lot of youth and some interesting battles ahead.

In the wake of a turbulent season the University of Arizona football team took a giant step toward the future with the beginning of spring practice on Saturday.

The team worked out for three hours and head coach John Mackovic was pleased with the results.

"The players were very active and there was a lot of movement today," said Mackovic.

The offensive and defensive units split up for the first two hours of practice and worked with their coaches on the fundamentals of what they'll be required to do during the season.

The final hour marked the team's first scrimmage, as the offense went up against the defensive secondary and linebacking core.

Offensively, the Wildcats will be looking to replace quarterback Jason Johnson as well as wide receiver Bobby Wade from last season's team. Sophomore quarterback Nic Costa took most of the snaps in the spring's first workout and will likely split the majority of preseason snaps with redshirt freshman Ryan O'Hara.

One player who will look to pick up the slack for the loss of Wade will be senior receiver Andrae Thurman. Thurman caught a number of deep passes in today's scrimmage.

"During spring practice we really want to get everyone on the same page and to work as a unit," said Thurman. "I'm excited to be a senior on this team and am looking forward to the season."

Newly hired defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz made his debut and began the process of installing a new system.

"It will take some time," said senior defensive back Gary Love, "but I'm looking forward to it. The changes will put us in a better position to win games."

One player who will not be returning to the squad this year is junior cornerback Anthony Fulcher. According to Mackovic, he intends to transfer to a different school.

Arizona has 15 remaining practices during the spring, including the Red – Blue Scrimmage which will take place on April 12.

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