Wednesday Night practice report

It was a great backdrop to watch practice. Dark clouds and lightning crashes filled the sky to the east. A classic Arizona sunset was off to the west. The sounds of pads crashing filled observers eyes. The third practice was actually fairly uneventful until tempers flared towards the end.

The Cats were in an 11-on-11 scrimmage when several linemen started pushing and shoving. That soon escalated into a fight. Not content with a few players exchanging blows, players from both sidelines stormed into the fray. It took the coaches a few minutes to separate the players.

As cooler heads prevailed the coaches lambasted their players, not for fighting, but for coming off the bench. The coaches forced the players to run a number of gassers as punishment.

"You could tell it was the first day of pads," Mike Stoops said. "I guess it's good sign, I hope. The guys are a little feisty."

NEWS

Not a whole lot of new news. Things are proceeding well.

It was the first day in "shells", which means just helmets and shoulder pads. Despite not being fully suited, the Cats did a lot of hitting.

Danny Baugher is the only punter on the roster, but kicker Nick Folk appears to be his back up. Folk was doing a lot of punting on Wednesday night.

Practice ended about 10 minutes early as lighting and rain moved in. The last players were being interviewed when the rain started.

RE-CAP

There was a lot of contact with the shoulder pads on. The Cats were popping, especially the linemen. During running drills the linebackers and running backs took turns trying to dish out more punishment. Chris Henry may have been the winner when he blasted an would-be tackler.

7-on-7 drills again had Kris Heavner and Ryan O'Hara taking the bulk of the work. Heavner is still the clear No. 1. Heavner completed his first five passes and went 7-9 for 45 yards. All but one of his completions were short dump-offs over the middle.

O'Hara looked downfield more, but completed one less pass. O'Hara was 6-9 for 62 yards, with a drop and an interception. He tried to go deep on his final pass, but freshman Antoine Cason went up and stole the ball from the intended receiver. He found Ryan Eidson on a long pass to the left sideline that was good for 25 yards.

Heavner got the majority of the snaps in the 11-on-11 drills. In an unusual move the offense started out by throwing 11 straight passes, before settling on a more balanced attack.

Heavner was 6-13 for 41 yards, but had four balls dropped. O'Hara was 1-4 for seven yards. He also scrambled for a short gain.

None of the runners were particularly effective, but the coaches blew their whistles very early.

OBSERVATIONS

John McKinney had a real nice hit when he came off the edge in a running drill and blew up a play in the backfield. As a whole, the linebacking corps looks more athletic and faster. Now they just have to make plays.

Chris Henry is big and can move. Every time he did something to impress me, he'd turn around and make a bad play. He delivered some nasty hits to defenders, but also had a fumble and a dropped pass.

Mike Bell continues to impress me with his quickness and shifty moves. He just cuts so well.

I love Antoine Cason. He's big, fast and seems to have good technique. He is taller than all the other corners and moves so well. Jot this one down for later. He sees the field this year and could be in the regular rotation.

Aaron Butler is fast. He got behind the defenders on a number of occasions. His hands are still suspect and gaining consistency in hanging on to the ball will be the deciding factor for just how much he plays.

Wildcat track coach Fred Harvey really likes Bobby McCoy. McCoy was a track star in Texas and will run for the Wildcats next spring. In fact Harvey was impressed by how much faster the entire team was.

Tanner Bell was stupid for being involved in the fisticuffs, but it was nice to see some aggression from the big offensive lineman. Bell hasn't always shown a mean streak.

NOTES

*Defensive coordinator Mark Stoops had one of the best plays on defense. Stoops batted away an errant O'Hara pass that came right at him.

*The team uses three hydraulic scaffolds to film practices. As the winds increased, the scaffold swayed violently. The video crew kept having to lower the scaffolds as to not lose equipment or videographers.

*The team will conduct their media day on Thursday.

E-mail Brad at bradallis@msn.com


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