Dews breaks down receivers

Arizona hasn't thrown the ball a lot in the first three games of the season, but that doesn't stop wide receivers Coach Tony Dews from teaching. Read on to find out some updates on the freshmen, who is coming back from injury, and more.

Over the first three games of the season, Arizona hasn't done very much in terms of the passing game. In truth, it didn't have to.

The Wildcats blew out three straight opponents, but did decide to open up the passing attack in a 38-13 win over UTSA. Even though the receivers haven't gotten in too much work in the first three contests, they are still improving with every practice.

"I think we are getting a little bit better every week," Arizona wide receivers Coach Tony Dews said. "The biggest thing is the kids are still working hard. All of the other stuff will come as they continue to work.

"I don't think you are ever pleased as a coach, but I am pleased that they are still working hard."

Arizona is playing two freshmen at wide receiver positions, Samajie Grant and Nate Phillips. Both have caught passes on the season and have played in all three games.

"Sometimes, you have to let them go out there and make mistakes to learn," he said. "The two younger guys are settling in and getting into their zone.

"They have both caught a ball or two. Now, it goes to another level. When you get to the Pac-12 everything gets harder."

The game against UTSA was a coming out party for Grant. He finished the game with five catches for 48 yards and caught his first career touchdown. Grant has been doing well in the study room, as well as on the field.

"He's done a great job," Dews said of Grant. "He has stayed steady with us. He and Nate have done well studying.

"I give them written tests several times a week to get them to draw what I want. They have responded well and they take diligent notes."

Arizona is now heading into the bye week before traveling to Washington to face the Huskies. It is a crucial time for Arizona in order to correct some things on offense.

"The bye week is coming at a good time," Dews said. "We are getting some guys back healthy and getting some rest for our guys legs. We've had enough games and film that we can correct off of. We still have a long way to go, but there are correctable things across the board."

The bye week has also given David Richards a chance to return to practice. The sophomore has missed all of summer workouts, fall camp, and the first three games with a foot injury.

"He has been cleared to do a little bit," Dews said of Richards. "He did some running on Sunday. Tuesday he did a little bit at the beginning and then put his boot back on. We are just trying to ease him back into the work since we don't play this week."

When he does return to the field, what does Richards bring to the receiving corps?

"Depth," Dews said. "He also has some experience. The fact that he has played in the league before. It's a little bit of a comfort thing as a coach, where he knows where he is supposed to be and what he is supposed to do. He's played against some of the corners in the league."

Arizona will also use the bye week to focus on helping B.J. Denker feel more confidence in his receivers. So far, Denker has had no problems, but it never hurts to fix the little things.

"The receivers can be consistent during practice," he said. "I'm a firm believer that practice doesn't make perfect, but perfect practice makes perfect.

"The more that they do things full speed and correct, the more the timing is going to be there in the games and B.J. is going to be more comfortable.

"When we aren't going full speed or we are out here dropping balls, then it's hard for anyone to develop confidence in you. We all need to develop consistency in every practice in every period."

Heading into Pac-12 play, the Wildcats will face tougher opponents and may use several different formations that haven't been seen yet. Dews spoke about one in particular that features running back Daniel Jenkins as a wide receiver.

"We try to make sure all the skill guys can play every position," Dews said. "That way if we get in a game where we are driving or in a zone and we don't want to change personnel, we have those guys that can do anything.

"It can cause some defenses problems with Ka'Deem (Carey) and D.J. on the field at the same time. You can run all the same plays you would normally with receivers, so that's a good thing."


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