Football update

The start of fall camp is about a month away and the Cats are working hard. They have nearly 100% participation and things are looking very good for the team. After watching guys work out it is safe to say that they are bigger, faster and stronger.

Let's start with the QB's. First and foremost Richard Kovalcheck looks fine. There is no sign that his back is bothering him and he looks like he has added some muscle. Heard that he may have been a little heavy after the surgery, but that no longer seems to be the case. He is clearly the most consistent passer in 7-on-7's and can make more throws than the other passers.

Adam Austin has a lot of confidence and is proving to be a leader on this team. He is really battling consistency. He makes most of the throws, but when he misses, he misses badly.

William Tuitama has a cannon. The kid throws the best ball, but is not consistent at this point. He needs to work on his timing, but after one throw I could tell he has the type or arm and mechanics that I have not seen since I started covering UA football in 2001. He's lost a little weight playing baseball, but is still a big kid.

Mike Bell has not been participating after his recent illness. He lost a little weight, but is doing fine and will be back in action soon.

Chris Henry is a beast. How a kid that big can run that fast I'll never know?

Both Terry Longbons and Xavier Smith are in great shape. With any other crop of running backs I'd say they could both play, but with the three the UA have in place they may both redshirt.

Syndric Steptoe looks like he is the leader of this receiving corps. He is really helping out the young guys and has the work ethic you want. He's added a lot of muscle and will not let these taller receivers take his reps.

Bobby McCoy is an athlete pure and simple. He can scoot. He is putting back on the weight he lost running tracks and may be a factor next year.

Gerald Rodriguez reminds me a lot of Bobby Wade. He too has some speed and like the other guys in the team he has added a lot of muscle.

B.J. Vickers is a large man. A guy that big should not be that skilled. He faded at the end of Spring Ball, don't expect that to happen again. He has gotten acclimated to the D-I work ethic.

Don't be shocked if by season's end that Michael Thomas is not a key cog in the offense. The kid is put together and is fast. It may take him awhile, but he will be a player.

The tight ends are coming around. Ryan Kilpatrick may see more time and Adam Grant could see time as a blocker. The bulk of the catches will come from Brandyn McCall and Brad Wood. Wood lacks size but he's gotten bigger and has great hands.

The offensive line is getting bigger and bigger. Tanner Bell is a monster and Bill Wacholz is scary big. Adam Hawes is not as solid as he was when he first took his visit, but he is not out of shape. He spent the last semester busting his but in the classroom and is not in the shape he'll be in come September. Give him a month in the weight room and watch out.

Kili Lefotu has been moved back to guard. The word is that he was doing great at center but is too valuable to move away from his better position.

I have seen a lot of Daniel Borg over the past year and the kid is in the best shape of his life. He is still big, but has shed some of his baby fat. In another year he'll be immense. He has a frame that can support a lot of weight, but still be able to move.

The defensive line is getting together. Ricky Parker has nice size, though he still needs some work. Paul Phillip is a high energy guy that is out there having a lot of fun. Byron Smith is a big man, but he is light on his feet. He has a little bit of a burst.

Marcus Smith may be up to 275, but can still move. The kid is huge! Copeland Bryan is pushing 250. Hard to believe that he came to school barely over 210. Jonathan Turner looks like he is bulking up. That is a kid with upside!

The linebacking corps is ridiculously deep. Right now Randy Sims, Ronnie Palmer and Dane Krogstad are working with the first team. Palmer is nearly 240 and can still move. Krogstad is a guy the coaches seem to love. He too looks bigger than he did last season and would like to add 5-10 more pounds if the coaches let him.

Spencer Larsen's rehab is ahead of schedule, though no timetable has been set. Xavier Kelly may be good enough to see the field this year in my opinion. Brandon Lopez looks solid too.

Expect Michael Johnson to push Lamon Means. It's not that Means is doing anything wrong, Johnson is just that solid.

Expect Coach Canales and Coach Stoops to fight over B.J. Dennard. He can play either WR or DB at a high level. He is taking reps at both.

In case there was any doubt, Darrell Brooks is the leader of this defense. He is the guy who makes sure everything runs smooth. He's also in great shape and playing well.

Tuitama is the only incoming player from California in town, but they will start to trickle in over the next week. Graduation was in mid June and they will take a few weeks off before jumping into the fire. Eben Britton may be the first on campus. Supposedly he is chomping at the bit to get started.

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