Arizona had its first open scrimmage on Saturday and WildcatAuthority.com takes a closer look
held its first scrimmage of the spring practice session on Saturday and this one saw the defense dominate for most of the morning. Only one offensive touchdown was scored and it came on the final play of the scrimmage. Up until that point, the offense continuously struggled and turned the ball over on several occasions.
Here are some key points on both sides of the ball:
Nick Foles threw two of the interceptions, but was otherwise solid throughout the scrimmage. He completed 16 out of 29 pass attempts for 141 yards. He failed to put the ball in the end zone but was able to get multiple receivers involved.
Austin Hill had a big afternoon, catching six balls for 90 yards. Hill redshirted a season ago, but looks to factor in much more this season. More performances like Saturday's and Hill could see the field early in the 2011 campaign.
Tyler Slavin also caught six passes for 78 yards and came up with the scrimmage's lone offensive touchdown. Another player that redshirted in 2010, Slavin looked a lot more comfortable in the system on Saturday and is looking to push other receivers for playing time.
Dan Buckner displayed nice hands with five catches which netted him 37 yards. It was obvious that he will be one of Foles' main targets in 2011 as the quarterback targeted him throughout the scrimmage
Daniel Jenkins performed the best out of the running backs. He finished with 29 yards on four carries and showed solid strength for a player his size.
The offense, as a whole, totaled 397 yards but turnovers prevented the unit from putting more points on the board. It was evident that UA has the ability to move the ball, but it will continue to struggle until it minimizes the mistakes.
Trevin Wade looks to be a bit more determined this season. He collected two interceptions and was in on a pass breakup. With Robert Golden moving back to safety, the pressure will be on Wade to perform better and he looks to be on the right path in doing so.
Derek Earls also collected a pair of picks and took one back for a touchdown. Earls looked to be a step quicker than he was at the end of the season and was one of the best performers on the defensive side of the ball on Saturday.
C.J. Parish returns for 2011 after utilizing a medical redshirt. He looks to be a big factor at defensive end as he picked up a pair of sacks and another tackle for loss. For a team looking to replace two all-conference performers at defensive end, Parish's performance was a very welcome sight.
With Adam Hall out with a knee injury, many young defensive backs are being asked to step up. One player who did that Saturday was Josh Robbins. Robbins came into the scrimmage in the middle and two plays in he collected an interception. In an area that is looking for anyone to come through in Hall's absence, Robbins did nothing but help his case.
The defensive line played well as a whole. Along with Parish‘s sacks, both Willie Mobley and Kirifi Taula each brought down the quarterback one time. The only running back that gave the line trouble was Jenkins, but the other backs were held to 57 yards on 14 carries.
The secondary hounded the receivers throughout the entire scrimmage. Golden, Wade, Marquis Flowers, Derrick Rainey, Jonathan McKnight and Lyle Brown all broke up passes to go along with the five interceptions collected by the defense.
There were 15 total possessions by the offense and the defense came up with stops in 14 of those.