Friday practice report

The Wildcats donned the pads for the first time on Friday. For the first time since coming on board in December the new coaching staff was able to see their new charges in person, in full uniform. The staff continues to add a lot of things and the players continue to absorb.

"It's going okay," Mike Stoops confessed. "There is a lot of teaching going on. There's a lot of good things. They are trying, but there is a lot to clean up when you are putting this much in over a short period of time. I'm happy with what we have in, but our execution is not where it needs to be. I think mentally we're getting better. It'll come as we go along through the spring."

Although there have only been three practices, the staff has a good grip on the team so far. Between film work, one-on-one meetings and the scant few practices, Stoops says that he and the coaches have become very familiar with the team.

"I think we have a good feel for what we have," Stoops said. "We have a pretty good idea."

The one position that the staff still has a lot of questions about is at quarterback. All four passers are still in the hunt. To date no passer has separated himself, while at the same time no passer has dropped behind the others. The four signal callers are making it tough on Stoops and offensive coordinator Mike Canales.

"The quarterback position is the trickiest of all," Stoops said. "All of those kids have done a good job the first three days. I am impressed with them, they are able to handle this situation. There's a lot of offense these guys have put in. A lot of motion and shifts. It's going to be hard narrowing these guys down. There's a lot of competition there."

The staff continues to add a lot to the offense and defense, while at the same time working hard on fundamentals. For the offense, taking care of the ball was a high priority at Friday's practice. The players went through a lot of drills devoted to hanging onto the ball were.

The defense went through a number of drills designed towards takeaways and running with the ball after a turnover. They also spent a lot of time on various techniques, especially form tackling.

A number of former players were in attendance and allowed to watch all of practice, while the media was escorted out after the initial 30 minutes. Stoops has mentioned that the past would be embraced and he continues to welcome former players and coaches.

"You are part of this program forever when you play here," Stoops said. "Everyone is welcome. I think it is great having them around. Hopefully it motivates our players that our here now."

One notable visitor was Mike Hankwitz. The interim coach last season, and current Colorado defensive coordinator, was in town and he and his son Jake watched practice. Coach Stoops spent a good deal of time talking to the coach he replaced. After practice a number of players stopped to say hello. "Coach Hank was a motivational man around here," said Darrell Brooks. "He helped us out a lot and helped us get in the swing of things."

NOTES
*Coaches from Sabino High in Tucson and Mater Dei (CA) high schools were on hand to watch practice. A pair of Sabino players were there as well.


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