Cats struggle in second scrimmage

It's just preseason. Keep telling yourself that and Saturday night's scrimmage won't seem so bad. In an error plagued exhibition the Arizona Wildcats showed that they have a lot of work to do before they venture to San Diego to play the Aztecs.

The Arizona offense struggled and the defense gave up a few big plays before a crowd of 3200 under the lights of Arizona Stadium.

"We didn't play well," said Coach John Mackovic. "I'm disappointed with the way we jumped offsides. The receivers didn't run the routes they were supposed to. I'm disappointed on our quarterbacks. They didn't throw the ball where they should. They didn't get off the ball fast enough. They were holding the ball too long and throwing interceptions. It was a real poor performance tonight."

The offensive star of the game was running back Clarence Farmer. Farmer rushed for 104 yards on only eight carries and broke off a 65-yard touch down run on the second series. It was the first team offense's only touch down on the night.

"To tell the truth I'm not feeling too good," Farmer said. "The offense as a whole didn't execute tonight. Tonight I did pretty good but as an offense we didn't do very good."

The offense came out with a whimper on the first drive. The series started with a false start and an incomplete pass. Tremaine Cox managed a seven-yard gain against the second defense, but the drive ended when Clay Hardt picked of a Jason Johnson pass.

The second series was over in a flash. Farmer took a draw play 65 yards for a touch down.

"Clarence Farmer showed some good things tonight," Mackovic said. "He showed that he was a big play back."

The first team offense stalled at the defense's 23-yard line on the next drive and had to settle for a 40-yard field goal from Sean Keel.

The first team defense got to strut its stuff on the next series. Against Cliff Watkins and the second string offense, the defense got sacks from Austin Uku and Keoni Fraser. The offense would go three and out. For the night the defense had nine sacks.

 

"They made some plays," Mackovic said of the defense. "Our tackling improved, but we're still a long ways away. We gave up some runs. Our pursuit wasn't very good because we had some cut back plays."

Watkins moved the offense a little more successfully on the next drive. Watkins connected on three-of-four passes to get inside the thirty-five, but a tipped ball would fall into Lance Brigg's hands for the defense's second interception.

The first offense would square off against the first defense with mixed results. The first drive went three and out, with Johnson being sacked again. Starting at the fifty-yard line, the next drive had the offense move to the 29, before Keel's missed field goal attempt left the offense empty handed.

Keel would connect on his next two field goal attempts. Against the second defense the offense got him close enough for 30 and 25 yard attempts. The second came on the end of a drive where Farmer's 25-yard run got the team down to the five.

The offense would finally reach the end zone again on a series of short drives. The offense received the ball at the defense's 35 on the final four possessions. Mike Bell scored on the scrimmages final two drives. His first score came on a fake reverse that he took 17 yards around the right end. The second came on a four-yard plunge up the middle. The scrimmage ended on a failed two-point conversion following the second Bell touchdown.

Following the scrimmage, Coach Mackovic did night hide his frustration with the team.

"I'm not making any excuses for them," Mackovic said. "If we're really going to have a good team we have to come out and play."

Mackovic did notice some players were nervous.

"I would say this, there were a lot of players tonight who got in here for the first time. They had the music playing and the lights on and they got butterflies. I could see it."

Despite the lackluster performance of the scrimmage, Mackovic has seen a lot of improvement since camp opened two weeks ago.

"They're showing progress," Mackovic said. "They are learning. I won't say we took a step backwards, but we showed that we are not ready to really polish and get ready to play."


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