Arizona kicks off spring football

Arizona took the field Wednesday for the first time since last season and Mike Stoops had plenty to talk about.

Arizona opened up spring practice on Wednesday and it allowed Arizona head coach Mike Stoops to get a closer look at what his team will consist of this upcoming season.

"Obviously I think it is going to play off our skill guys and receivers and getting guys out of the box to demand coverage outside," Stoops said. "We need to get the ball to our skill guys. The strength of this team is the skill at wide receiver, running back, and quarterback."

Stoops is extremely happy with the weapons he has offense, especially at receiver. Now that Dan Buckner is eligible to play, Stoops feels the receivers will definitely be the strength of the team.

"I think we have to get our best 11 guys on the field," Stoops said. "Our skill level has never been this high and this is the best group of receivers we ever had."

While Arizona had strong receivers last season, the excitement surrounding the group this year is at an all-time high due in large part to Buckner.

"The whole group is pretty special," Stoops said. "It is fun to see Dan out there competing knowing he is going to be on the field this fall. He is an extreme talent and competitor and those are the things that I love about him."

The biggest question on offense that Stoops is hoping to address during camp is the play of the offensive line, as it will consist of entirely new faces.

"We have a lot of work to do up front," he said. "We have a young offensive line but I think our experience in our wide receivers and quarterbacks is going to help our offensive line.

"We took too many sacks a year ago we have to get the ball out of our hands quicker and try to help that group as much as we can."

There is also youth on the defensive line, specifically at the end positions, where Stoops is looking to replace Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore.

"I think C.J. Parish, Dan Pettinato and Mohammed Usman are the three guys," Stoops said. "We are moving some of our tackles out there as well. I really like what Dan is doing and Mohammed I think is a very explosive player. It is a group we really have not heard much about but I still really like their talent."

In addition to the players that are already at defensive end, Stoops will be looking at the defensive tackles as possibilities as well.

"We are moving some of them to the outside," Stoops said. "We have about three deep inside. Justin Washington is probably more inside. I like our young defensive tackles. They are playing hard and there will be a committee group there as well."

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