Coaches give fans the rundown

It was a fun night at Risky Business as Cat Tracks had a little get together. It was sort of a post-signing day party and we were lucky enough to have three Wildcat assistant coaches on hand to talk recruiting, football and the prospects for 2005.

In case you could not make it out, here is a rundown on some of the topics covered by the coaches.

Offensive coordinator Mike Canales, special teams coach Joe Robinson and linebackers coach Tim Kish were gracious enough to spend about an hour talking football. Also on hand was former Wildcat and current UA broadcaster Lamont Lovett.

Some of the highlights of the conversations included some interesting tidbits on the incoming players and some returnees. Again Mike Canales had high praise for a number of players, including Willie Tuitama and B.J. Vickers. Canales admitted that he could not wait for Tuitama to get on campus, but cautioned that the team would love to redshirt him. Canales did insist, that while Kovalcheck is the starter going into the camp, Tuitama will get a shot at earning the starting job.

Canales also had high praise for Vickers. He said that Vickers gives the team an instant "100 yards extra in offense". He praised his size, speed and playmaking ability.

Joe Robinson confessed that the team was desperate to find a new long snapper. Starter Ben DalMolin graduates, as does back up Steve Fleming. He said that there are a number of candidates on the team, but no surefire bets. Robinson admitted that the team will continue to look for players that can fill the role.

Robinson went on to say that he is pleased with Nick Folk and that "his best days are yet to come". He also seems to like Jason Bondzio, but they will look for a walk-on kicker to bolster the ranks. A concern is the fact that Danny Baugher will be a senior, but the Cats are likely to address that in next year's class.

Robinson was asked if Lionel Dotson would move back outside. He said that they were still deciding, but it sounded like there was a good chance he would continue to add weight and stay at defensive tackle. The coaches also said that despite the numbers on the offensive line, they said it was doubtful that they'd move a young offensive lineman to the defensive side.

They said that Kili Lefotu will move to center and that Blake Kerley could very well be his back-up. Another freshman they were very high on was Adam Grant. The 6-7 tight end is a guy they may try and use. He won't start at tight end, but they will try to put him in a position where he can be successful.

The coaches had high praise for two players. They compared Terry Longbons to Eddie George and Michael Thomas to Reggie Bush. When asked if Thomas was overlooked by recruiting services, Canales said yes. He felt a major reason that Turner (as well as Tuitama and Xavier Kelley) were a bit lower in the rankings was because they committed so early in the process and did not get the attention that other, non committed players did.

All three coaches really praised Mike Stoops and the commitment he has made to recruiting. They said that he insists that they work on recruiting every day, even during the middle of the day. They said that at other programs that is not always the case. They were also thrilled with the early jump they got on the 2006 class. They pointed towards the great turnout for Junior Day last month and the hard work they did, even before signing day.


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