Defense gets best of third football scrimmage

It was a day for the defense during spring football scrimmage No. 3. The Wildcat resistance regularly caused problems for the UA offense and quarterback Adam Austin.

During the scrimmage portion of the event, conducted Saturday morning at Arizona Stadium, Austin looked rushed from the opening snap. His first attempt, a delivery to Mike Bell, was dropped, but other than that it was the defense that appeared to keep the offensive starters out of rhythm.

During the scrimmage's first drive, Austin did deliver a pair of nice completions, one to Brad Wood for 17 yards and another to Syndric Steptoe, who stepped underneath an inside blitz, found the hole and scampered 20 yards. After that play, linebacker Randy Sims was chastised by the coaching play for missing an assignment.

After the Steptoe completion, Austin missed his next five attempts, but broke the string with a nifty 20-yard pass to Anthony Johnson. On the play, Austin stumbled at the line of scrimmage, but regained his footing for the first down.

The telling sequence of the day occurred following an interference call on third and eight. The UA offense got into the flow, and moved from the 35 to as deep as the four-yard-line, but the drive stalled when Austin's third-down pass to Wood was broken up in the end zone by Lamon Means. The UA settled for a 20-yard Nick Folk field goal.

For the day, Arizona registered nine sacks. Copeland Bryan was credited with three. Ronnie Palmer and Dane Krogstad led the Wildcat defense with six tackles apiece.

Offensively, Austin completed 20-of-48 passes for 191 yards. Johnson had six receptions for 65 yards. Arizona showed some effectiveness on the ground. Chris Henry had 10 carries for 53 yards while Bell had 10 carries for 28 yards and a three-yard touchdown as part of Arizona's best drive of the day. During that possession, Bell had a run of 10 yards that helped to set up the three-yard hurdle to paydirt. He also had three catches for 18 yards.

"Offensively I thought the backs are running the ball well," Wildcat head coach Mike Stoops said. "The main thing is we're getting better. We're becoming a more physical football team."

Perhaps the proof of that was illustrated most visibly in the face of defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, who suffered a cut along the bridge of his nose after a collision with a Wildcat wide receiver.

"I'll be fine," Mark Stoops said. "I took a shot. I was back there in the middle of the action and took a little jolt. I needed to slow down one of the receivers. I don't think we had him covered."

Arizona has three more practices on the docket and the Spring Game Saturday, April 23 at 1:30.

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