Thurman and Sharp won't play

The biggest news in the Arizona football camp was the official announcement that Andrae Thurman and David Sharp are academically ineligible. The Cats had been preparing as if the pair would not be with them so the loss, while costly, is not as damaging as it could be.

Thurman emerged in the spring as the go-to receiver. As a junior he was the Wildcats' No. 2 receiver and one of the best in the Pac-10 statistically. He had 61 catches for 915 yards and was also one of the team's top return men. His return was doubtful, so the Cats prepared as if he would not be returning.

"We've been practicing without him," said John Mackovic. "It would be easier to plug him in, than it would to unplug him. He was a good receiver last season. He made a lot of plays the last couple years. You don't enjoy missing someone like that, but we'll be able to go on."

David Sharp is a junior college transfer who was expected to add depth on the defensive line. He participated in spring drills but failed to make adequate academic progress after transferring.

The Cats are still awaiting grades on halfback Beau Carr.

At today's practice, the Cats worked a lot more in situational work. 7-on-7 drills saw the Cats' offense in the scoring zone, while 11-on-11 worked on a few different scenarios.

"We were working coming off the goal line and scoring zone, those kinds of things," Mackovic said. "Nothing specific for game preparation, just part of training camp." In the 7-on-7 drills each quarterback tossed a touchdown pass, but neither looked sharp. Costa was 2-8 for 19 yards, 14 of which came on a scoring strike to Steve Fleming. Ryan O'Hara was 2-7 for 17 yards. He tossed a 15-yard score to Ricky Williams.

The 11-on-11 drills started off in standard fashion, with no special scenarios. Early on it was the Biren Ealy show. Ealy had five of the six receptions, racking up 70 yards. Costa was 3-5 for 40 yards, while O'Hara was 3-6 for 40.

Next the Cats worked with the offense's back to their own endzone. Here the offense started to get sloppy. In four series the offense failed to get a first down.

"The defense was a little better," Mackovic said. "The offense wasn't sharp all day. They didn't really click much today. I was disappointed with that." The offense did not get any better in the "scoring zone" drills that concluded practice. The first offense went three and out. The second offense, piloted by O'Hara managed a first down but a busted play and a batted ball at the line of scrimmage cost the offense a chance to score.

NOTES:

*Walk-ons Lee Patterson and James Molina were both awarded scholarships. Patterson played in three games last season, garnering three tackles. Molina punted 13 times for a 36.9 yard average.

*Tom Robinson missed time with an injured shoulder. It is not known how long it will bother him.

*Tim Taylor moved back to running back after starting camp at linebacker.

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