Monday P.M. Practice Report

Arizona was in full pads for the second practice of the day and there was some good popping. Both the offense and the defense added new wrinkles and we saw our first appearance of the scout teams. Unfortunately, we also saw an old problem rear its ugly head.<BR><A href="">MONDAY A.M. REPORT</A>

The first week of practice saw Clarence Farmer and John Mackovic coexisting just fine. Farmer was trying to get back into football shape and he was getting plenty of reps with the first offense. That changed Tuesday night as Farmer watched the end of practice from the sideline with his pads off. Mackovic offered an explanation.

"I am really disappointed that Clarence is not able to do any more than he is," Mackovic said. "I was under the impression that he was 100% from both him and from the doctors. I am very disappointed that he's not doing more. He says he's sore and he hurts. I can't be the judge if someone else is sore. He says he can't go and if someone says he can't play we're not going to put him in."

Mike Bell seemed to echo those sentiments.

"I know Clarence is frustrated because he wants to come back to how he was his sophomore year," Bell said. "It's painful for him because of his knee."

Interestingly enough, Farmer denied that he pulled himself out. Following practice he said he did not pull himself out and that he would not elaborate any further.

The rest of practice went quite well. Despite it being the first day of two-a-days Mackovic was quite pleased with the effort.

"I liked what we did tonight," Mackovic said. "We had a lot of things going on. We put in a lot of our nickel defense and our third down passing offense."

The team worked on special teams early and we got a glimpse at the players competing for the punt return job. Syndric Steptoe, Biren Ealy, Michael Jefferson and Gary Love were all getting lots of reps.

Early on the quarterbacks worked with their receivers on various long patterns and really got to show off their arms. Ryan O'Hara continues to throw a great deep ball. He may not have the strongest arm on the team but he has great timing and the right amount of air under his passes.

Zachary Sparksman has come out and tested his arm as well. He won't compete for playing time but he does have very nice touch on his long balls. Kris Heavner's arm is as good as advertised and rivals Nic Costa's. Richard Kovalcheck's arm is not as strong as Heavner's or Costa's but he does throw a nice ball and puts good zip on his passes.

During the drill the receivers worked on getting past a bump and run corner and used a few different rip and swim techniques to get past the defenders.

The scout teams made their first appearances. The top offense went against the third string defense, while the top defenders got to face the scout offense. Interestingly enough, many of the freshmen got reps with the top units including, Steptoe, Anthony Johnson, Wilrey Fontenot, Chris Henry, Clifton Stanford, Brenton Bolden and the two quarterbacks.

The 7-on-7 passing drills were quite interesting. The routes being run looked like they were taken right out of the 49ers playbook circa 1984. Almost every pattern and every completion was short routes. The offense made a living with quick slants, quick outs and passes to the flats. Only three attempts went more than ten yards and Costa and Steptoe connected on the only long completion, a 20-yarder down the left sideline.

Costa was 3-5 for seven yards in the drill. O'Hara was 3-5 for just 13 yards, while Richard Kovalcheck was 2-4 for 10. Kris Heavner received just two snaps and was 1-2 for five yards.

The 11-on-11 scrimmage was a totally different story. All four passers looked downfield and tried to stretch the defense. The offense also utilized shotgun and rollout passes which benefited Costa the most, but all three passers who took snaps showed they could throw on the run.

Costa fared well connecting on 2-5 for 35 yards and also had a quarterback keeper where he showed his sprinter's speed. O'Hara was 3-5 for 35 as well and Kris Heavner hit his lone pass for 15 yards.

The Cats spread the ball around to several receivers and we saw that Biren Ealy is getting better at making adjustments and Ricky Williams could be dangerous on the slant pattern.


*The swelling in Tanner Bell's knee has gone down and he will have an MRI on Tuesday; The extent of the injury is not yet known.

*John Parada's knee has started to swell up and he will also have an MRI in the next few days.

*John Abramo will be out a few days nursing a sore ankle.

*Marcus Smith had minor surgery on his wrist and will return to action in a day or two. He will be wearing a cast for a few weeks.

*About six players missed practice to finish papers or study for finals on Tuesday. Michael Jolivette was one of the players who was excused from workouts.

*Tomorrow morning the players will have breakfast with their position coaches. Mackovic said that they will have a chance to relax and talk about anything they want, football or non-football related.


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