Spring Practice Report: Thurs. April 1st

Nothing it seems can rain on the Wildcats' parade, literally. Despite pouring rain, and the occasional lightning flash, the Wildcats continued spring practice with great enthusiasm. Despite the soggy conditions, the Wildcats are loving everything about spring ball.

The Wildcats hosted a number of high school coaches and players as part of their coaches' clinic. There had to be close to 50 coaches, most from local high schools, who battled the adverse weather conditions to witness practice.

The storm really hit at the very end of practice and it was quite a scene to see all of these coaches making a mad dash to the football offices.

Although practice remains partially closed to the media, both Arizona and prep coaches did reveal that the offense had a big day. As of now the offense is ahead of the defense. We were told that Steve Fleming caught a long bomb, and Syndric Steptoe had a very nice play that led to a long score.

Offensive coordinator Mike Canales is not shocked that the offense has faired so well, but is pleasantly surprised at just how well the players have picked up the offense.

"I think they're doing pretty well so far," Canales said. "They are doing very well. They're getting it."

The players were given basic plays and formations a month and a half before the start of camp, but are just now figuring out how it all fits into the scheme. The secret in learning the offense is understanding the concepts. Once you learn a concept, understanding the offense, no matter where you are asked to line-up.

Mike Bell continues to impress. Bell may be the one true star on the team. Canales said that they hope to get him 1,000 yards rushing and at least 40 catches. Canales also mentioned that they think Steve Fleming could have a serious shot at 40+ catches as well.

Although the defense is a step behind, the players are having a blast. For the defensive line the scheme is not too complex, but for the rest of the unit it is still a period of growth.

"It's easier for the linemen," Carlos Williams said. "We know what we need to do, it's not so easy for the rest of the guys."

All the defensive coaches seem pleased with the progress. They like the fact that the defense is learning, but they admit that most of the players are still thinking instead of reacting.

NOTES:
*Some of the schools represented by coaches at the clinic include Ironwood Ridge, Sunnyside, Rincon and Santa Rita.

*OL prospect Daniel Borg of Ironwood Ridge was supposed to be in attendance. It also looks like Sunnyside's Xavier Smith may have been there as well.

*Former Wildcat linebacker Scott McKee was observing practice. McKee is a candidate for the Pueblo coaching job. Carl Tuitavuki was also on hand. *Matt Padron, who left the team earlier in the week, was at McKale at the same time as the practice. Padron did not interact with the team and his plans are not known.


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