Friday p.m. practice: Defense wins again

The Wildcats' last practice before their Saturday night scrimmage was an eventful one. For the second time today the defense got the best of the offense. The Wildcats finished practice with situational drills in the scoring zone, but like Friday morning, the defense came away much happier than their offensive counterparts.<BR> <A href="">FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE</A>

"We worked again a lot in the scoring zone and we did a lot of the situational stuff like we did in the spring," Head coach John Mackovic said. "I think it's closer to playing the game than anything. The defense won all three. We did three sets and the defense won all three. That's good for the defense and good for the team really. Our offense will see the pictures and learn from it."


The Cats set up specific situations in the scoring zone, dictating time, distance and the number of timeouts.

Situation one. First offense vs. first defense. 1st and 10 at the 32, :48 seconds left, no timeouts. Nic Costa at QB.

On first down Costa was flushed out of the pocket and sprinted to the sideline for a two-yard gain before getting out of bounds. On second down Costa fired a high, but catchable pass to Michael Jefferson who could not handle it. On third down Costa hit Ricky Williams on an out pattern for a six-yard gain. Williams got out of bounds setting up a fourth and four. On fourth down the defense blitzed, sacking Costa. Turnover on downs.

Situation two: Second offense vs. second defense. 3rd and six at the 15-yard line, :15 seconds left. No timeouts. Ryan O'Hara at QB.

On first down the defense swarmed O'Hara for a sack. On fourth and 12 he went deep and overthrew the receiver. Turnover on downs.

Situation three: First offense vs. first defense. 2nd and five at the 25. :25 seconds left. No timeouts. O'Hara at QB.

On first down O'Hara threw a pass to Gilbert Harris in the flat, which bounced off the running back's chest. Second down saw both defensive ends swarm O'Hara. The ball was batted away as he started throw it. The coaches ruled it an incompletion. Fourth down saw just a few seconds on the clock. O'Hara took a shot at the endzone but Clay Hardt leaped and pulled in the interception.

Before the situational drills, the Cats were in 7-on-7 "skellies". They started out the "skellies" with an open field and finished in the "scoring zone". In the early portion Costa was 1-3 for 20 yards, Kris Heavner was 2-2 for 15 yards and Richard Kovalcheck was 1-2 for 10 yards. O'Hara was 0-4, but he had one pass dropped and another pass went to a receiver who appeared to be interfered with. Ricky Williams was the main target, catching three of the five completions for 25 yards.

The Cats then went to scoring zone situations and things looked better. Costa was 2-4 for 15 yards, but it was O'Hara who shined. The freshman was 4-5 for 35 yards. His first throw was a 10-yard strike to walk-on Ryan Eidson. Then he hit Williams on the sideline and the junior receiver tightrope walked the boundary for a 15-yard score.


*Marcus Smith was back in pads but wearing a yellow no-contact jersey. He had been held out of several practices after having surgery on his hand.

*Darrell Brooks was also sporting a yellow jersey.

*A skirmish broke out between Matt Padron and Clifton Stanford. Padron must have been the instigator because he was forced to run laps as punishment.

*Both Kili Lefotu and Chris Johnson spent time in the trainer's tent icing minor injuries, however both returned to action and looked fine.

*The Wildcats head to Arizona Stadium for a controlled team scrimmage on Saturday, which is set to begin at 7:30 p.m. following Fan Appreciation Night activities.

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