A look at spring ball day one

Finally AZ football is back in full swing, and I was at practice today to see it first hand. I can only give you so much detail, because they were in shorts, but there was some good stuff.

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First of all I will talk about the QB situation because that was what seemed to concern everyone. The first thing that was very obvious was that Adam Austin takes a back seat to no one on the team, when it comes to arm strength. Dare I say "he has a cannon", but he had some serious zip on his passes. So much so that his arm strength caused some dropped passes by guys like Steptoe. The next thing that I noticed was that he showed great command of the offense today. He moved around the pocket beautifully, and he consistently found the open receiver. He completed several mid-range passes to Jefferson, Steptoe, and Vickers during team drills. He also hit Steptoe for a long TD, on a play where the defense blitzed and Austin stepped up in the pocket, avoided the rush and hit Steptoe right in stride on a slant route that turned into a 50 yard TD.

Mike Jefferson looked very sharp today. He was not putting the ball on the ground. He showed a lot of consistency with his pass catching and route running. BJ Vickers has great hands. I would venture to say that he may have the best hands out there. He hauled in several bullet passes with his hands. He doesn't ever seem to struggle with catching the ball. He is still a work in progress, but his talent is obvious. He will greatly improve over the next few weeks, because he has the work ethic.

Bobby McCoy caught my eye with his blazing speed. Though I did not see him catch any bombs today, he really burned the defense on a deep post, but the QB took a underneath route. The word on Bobby is that he is deadly on the Post Routes and the Streak Routes.

The RB's looked really sharp, and rightfully so. They have a lot of experience and the coaches will put a lot of weight on their shoulders this year. Bell, Harris looked big and fast. Chris Henry really stood out to me today. Not only is he the fastest RB, but he is one of the biggest. He just exploded through holes today, unlike I have ever seen him do before. He seems to be running with a lot more body control and patience. He made some very advanced cut backs that he perhaps would not have made last year. Wait and see, he looks much improved.

On the defensive side of the ball, right off hand, everyone looks to be much bigger and in great shape. For the first time in a long time we will be able to use the word "Prototype" when describing our LB corp. Ronnie Palmer is really put together and he stands around 6"3. Palmer showed great speed and agility in coverage today, and he ran with the first group. That group included Palmer at MLB, Krogstad at SLB, and Simms at WLB. They were all flying around. The next group included Larson at MLB, Lopez WLB, and McKinney at SLB. That group was equally impressive. Larson is not quite as big as Palmer, but he is still big and very quick.

The Corners were very solid. The Safety position was under a lot of scrutiny today because there was a lot of youth. Dominic Patrick was at FS, Means was at SS. Patrick has a lot to learn, but he is talented.

I was most excited about the D-Line. Our D-Tackles looked big and fast today. Byron Smith, has a very fast first step and he is thick. Yaniv Barnett was really coming off the ball today, and looks to be in good shape. Lawrence Ball has really changed his body, and looks a lot stronger. Dotson also has filled out more. The depth looks to be fine at that spot for now.

The DE's looked really good and athletic today. Marcus Smith made the play of the day, when he was dropping into the flats, in a zone coverage, Austin launched a bullet pass that would have been a fifteen yard out but Smith jumped up so high, with both arms fully extended and made a highlight real interception. It was incredible because he was like 5 yards away from the QB, and the pass was thrown with a high trajectory, and very hard. It would have been the equivalent of standing 5 feet in front of one of those Football launchers and snagging a high pass. Needless to say everyone went crazy when he did it. Turner also really stood out today with his size and athleticism. He looks like he will be a force, off of the edge.

That's about it. The team was really flying around today and they looked good. The offense really did not miss a beat. I just hope Austin's arm can hold up, because he literally took almost every snap. To his credit, the ball kept flying out of his hands. Oh, I also forgot to mention that Brad Britain was running at the Offensive Guard Position, and he looked huge, and quite comfortable there. The line looks like they have some serious size and depth. Kili was starting at Center, and looked good.


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