Two players switch positions, another leaves team

It was an interesting practice for the Arizona Wildcat football team. Two players switched positions while another player has left the program. It should come as no surprise that with a defensive minded head coach, two offensive reserves would be given a look on defense. Another player resisted a position switch and will instead transfer out of the program.

Matt Padron is no longer a Wildcat. Head coach Mike Stoops indicated that he was being tried at both tight end and tackle and that may have had something to do with the desire to transfer.

"Matt we moved, he was playing tight end and tackle and as of now it looks like he's going to transfer," Stoops said. "I'm not exactly sure where, but we're going to release him if he wants to go somewhere else to play."

It comes as a bit of a surprise since Padron was one of the players who seemed very excited about the new strength and conditioning program. There has been some talk that Padron was not open to a possible move to the offensive line. Playing time could have been a concern as well since seniors Steve Fleming and Charles McRae appeared to be ahead of him at the tight end position.

In a slightly less surprising move, running backs Brenton Bolden and Gainus Scott have been moved to corner back. The moves are not necessarily permanent, but could be if either player adapts well to the move. The Wildcats were pleased with the running back situation with Mike Bell and Chris Henry, but are concerned with depth at corner.

"They just needed more help on the defense," Bolden said. "They asked me if I wouldn't mind doing it and I said I would do anything to help the team."

For Bolden it is a huge adjustment. Bolden has always played offense, and Tuesday's practice was his first real taste of defense.

"I've never played defense in high school," Bolden admitted. "I never really needed to. I came here wanting to play. If I need to play corner back to see the field, then I'll do that."

For Scott the adjustment is not quite as big. Scott played corner back until early into his junior season when he assumed the running back spot at La Porte HS. "I will do anything to help the team," Scott said. "I've never seen myself as a corner back, but it might come true, you never know. For right now I'll see how it feels and help out the defense. If it feels good I'll stay right here, but if it does not work out for the best I'll move back to running back."

It is interesting to note that Bolden and Scott were the Wildcats' two smallest running backs and were less suited to the one-back offense than the bigger players like Bell, Henry and Gilbert Harris. Their speed was also a factor, as both players are very quick. "We want to give those guys an opportunity to help us in the secondary," Stoops said.

The Wildcats have had a pleasant surprise at corner back. JC transfer Keil McDonald has played very well thus far in the spring and has put himself in serious contention for a starting spot come fall.

"Keil is doing real well, I like what he's doing," Stoops said. "He's playing well and has a chance to be a really good player. I like what he does, I like his attitude, I like the way he works. He has everything you want, he just has to keep getting better fundamentally."

The Wildcats have already had some interesting visitors to camp and Tuesday's practice was no exception. Embattled Colorado coach Gary Barnett was in town and watched much of the Wildcats' work out.

"(He was) just visiting," Stoops explained. "I'll get some advice as he's been down this road before at Northwestern trying to change a program. He has lots of good advice and Gary just has a passion for football and was in the area."


*OL John Abramo has a foot injury and may be out the rest of spring practice.

*With Padron's status up in the air, the Wildcats have just three tight ends in camp. Redshirt freshman Ryan Kilpatrick joins Fleming and McRae as the team's only tight ends. At least two tight ends will join the team in the fall. Incoming freshmen Travis Bell and Chris Wilson will bolster the unit, while DE signee Justin Walsh was also a top prep tight end.

*Arizona has just three running backs left at the position who have a collegiate carry. Bell, Gilbert Harris and Henry all have carries, while Pedro Limon and Chris Harris have played in a D-I game, but have never rushed the ball.

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