Spring Drills, Day 2

It is day two of spring ball and the Cats are just excited to be out on the field. Energy is high and so is the optimism as the Cats continue to work hard and improve.

One of the big performers of the day was Chris Henry. The sophomore running back continues to show his mix of speed and power. He broke off a big run where he used his speed to get to the corner, then stopped dead and faked out Dramayne McElroy who had cut the angle.

Adam Austin continued to take the bulk of the snaps, but in an effort to save his arm they brought in former Wildcat quarterback Jason Johnson to throw during some drills.

Some of the standouts at camp include Byron Smith, who Mike Stoops called a "prototypical defense tackle." He is thrilled with Smith's size and power and feels that the unit as a whole will be improved. He liked what he saw from all of the defensive linemen and was thrilled with what he has seen and feels they will only get better when Paul Phillip returns.

Stoops also had high praise for Johnathan Turner and B.J. Vickers.

The line got a lot of work. Coach Eric Wolford had them really working the sled and the battle for the three open starting spots have been intense. One interesting player has been Brad Brittain, the converted defensive tackle. Brittain continues to add muscle and has been proving that the move to offense may be a good one. His main problem is a lack of speed, but the former tight end is not afraid to mix it up.

Five players got work at center on Wednesday. Garon McHone, Dillon Hansen, Joe Longacre, Danny Espinosa and Erick Levitre all worked at center. Kili Lefotu has a mildly injured knee and sat out most of the day riding a stationary bike. Lefotu played well on Monday and will be the centerpiece of the line. A lot of guys look good, but Tanner Bell looks notably stronger. B.J. Dennard may not be practicing but he is learning. On Monday he was clad in white and hanging out with the receivers and on Wednesday he was in blue and observing the defensive backs. Dennard may be able to participate by the last week of practice.

Spencer Larsen has been a pleasant surprise, but the sophomore who is back from his Mormon Mission tweaked his knee today, but should be fine.

A lot of players are noticeably bigger. Mike Bell has added nine pounds of muscle since the ASU game and newcomer Brandyn McCall has added almost 20 pounds since the beginning of January.

The receiving crew has been playing well. Aaron Butler shows a lot of promise, but his hands have been a concern. At the end of practice the former Catalina standout spent extra time catching balls out of a jugs machine.

Vickers may be the talk of camp, but he was one of the last players to leave the field. He worked hard on drills that forced him to stay low as he ran and work on his explosiveness.

The Cats return to practice on Friday and will be in full pads. On Saturday the practice is expected to be open to the public. There should be a short scrimmage at the end, although the location has not been determined. It will either be at the Stadium or split between the practice field and the stadium.

Stoops also confirmed the signing of Cerritos defensive lineman Ricky Parker. Parker originally attended ASU but moved on to the California JC. He will join the team in the fall.

Kiel McDonald has left the program. He left for winter break and never returned. The corner back was injured for most of 2004.

Former Wildcat Ricky Williams was on hand. Sabino prospect Glyndon Bolaski has been at both practices and has been offered a scholarship.


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