Defense shines in scrimmage

Saturday's scrimmage brought mixed results for Arizona, as Arizona head coach Mike Stoops talks about each.

Arizona's first open scrimmage was a mixed bag of sorts, as the Wildcats could take both positives and negatives out of the team's performance.

"Overall I would say that stuff kind of crept up a little bit," Arizona head coach Mike Stoops said. "Offensively we moved the ball well at times, but we had too many turnovers and not enough conversions on third down and those are things we have to work on."

The offensive line struggled a bit on Saturday, but Stoops did not seem to panic about the current situation, seeing as how it is such a young unit.

"I think our offensive line got better over the first two weeks and that is a very positive step for us," he said. "I think we are getting a solid number one group but we have to continue to improve."

As far as the defense goes, C.J. Parish, Kirifi Taula, and Willie Mobley were three players that had a sack.

The defensive line played well throughout the day, despite not having two players that will likely start this season.

"Defensively I liked the energy we played with today," Stoops said. "I think our defensive overall group is going to be better.

"Justin Washington and Sione Tuihalamaka had a family issue and we played a lot of young guys defensively."

Despite having to replace two key components on the defensive line, Stoops is confident that the defense will be just fine this year.

"Defensively we have a chance to be better at all nine positions," Stoops said. "Losing two All Pac-10 defensive ends gets a little difficult to replace, but I like what our defensive ends are doing.

"C.J. Parish is doing a lot of good things and so is Mohammed Usman and Dan Pettinato, so when it is all said and done I think we will be stronger defensively than we have ever been."

One noticeable absence on defense was Adam Hall, who will likely be out 5-7 months with a torn ACL. While there is still movement being made on defense, Stoops has a good idea of which player will replace Hall.

"Robert Golden will have to move to safety full time now and that is okay," Stoops said. "We have three or four starting corners, so just losing Adam, he was coming into his own, so I feel really bad for him as a player."

Losing Greg Nwoko and Adam Hall to ACL injuries hurts Arizona, but Stoops is leaving open the possibility of a return next season.

"This is a little bit of a setback, but these guys have to go through the process of the surgery and they will come back and be productive players hopefully at some time next year, but we don't know when," Stoops said.

One player that may help to replace Hall is Marquis Flowers, who had a strong scrimmage on Saturday.

"Marquis can do a lot of different things," Stoops said. " He may have to move to safety now. We are looking at a lot of guys at safety and nickel.

"Marquis is a nickel, but we have may have to play him as a deeper safety if we don't like what we are getting from our other safeties, which is a lot like Adam did."

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