Cats cut scrimmage short

The Arizona football team had planned to run an hour long, 80+ play scrimmage but things ended early. A combination of reasons caused coach John Mackovic to call the scrimmage after just 50 plays and have the players run wind sprints following a late hit that almost led to an altercation.

Gary Love intercepted a Jason Johnson pass and streaked down the sideline. Before he stepped out of bounds the referees blew their whistles. Moments after the whistles blew Clarence Farmer delivered a jarring hit that sent the newly converted corner back flying about 10' into the track portion of Arizona Stadium. The hit caused a number of players to run over there and start jawing. Before anything happened the coaches calmed the situation.

Despite not getting everything they wanted accomplished, Mackovic decided to call the practice to avoid any more problems (earlier an apparent late-hit was not called on the defense).

"We wanted to do more passing, but we ended practice early because we were running out of runners," Mackovic said. "We also were a little bit out of control, and that is not what our team is about. I explained to the players that we can't do things that will hurt our team."

Farmer was one of the few healthy running backs on the field. Chris Harris was sick, Gainus Scott and Sean Jones were both shaken up a little bit. Mike Bell was held out of practice with a concussion and fullback Antoine Singfield had surgery on a broken bone in his leg that morning.

The defense still appeared to be slightly ahead of the offense. The defense had five sacks, two fumble recoveries and the Love interception. A surprising newcomer lead the way for the defense, as Andre Torrey posted two sacks on the day. Senior linebacker Ray Wells had two solo tackles and a sack, and sophomore defensive end Fata Avegalio also tallied two hits and a sack. Senior linebacker Scott McKee added the fifth sack for the Wildcats.

"Defensively, we are flying to the football, and that is exactly what we wanted to improve this spring," Mackovic said. "I am pleased with the way the defense is running to the football. We are playing aggressively, and that is a mighty step up for us from a year ago."

Redshirt freshman Nic Costa and senior Jason Johnson split most of the duty at quarterback, but a pair of walk-ons saw some action as well. Johnson completed 6-of-9 passes for 77 yards and had the one interception. Costa was 0-for-5 passing and rushed three times for 12 yards. Walk-on quarterbacks Phil Linduska and Zachary Sparksman each saw limited action. Linduska completed 3-of-4 passes for 47 yards, while Sparksman went 0-for-2 on the day.

The quarterbacks were under pressure all day long. Costa especially had to deal with pass rushers camping out in the backfield.

"I am disappointed with our pass protection. We are going to have to spend next week in a concentrated mode of pass protection," Mackovic added. "I wanted to let Nic Costa pass more, but he was running for his life."

Junior tight end Justin Levasseur led all receivers with two receptions for 46 yards. Redshirt freshman fullback Sean Jones had two catches for 16 yards. Junior wide receiver Lance Relford had a catch for 15 yards, and senior walk-on Scott Altick had one reception for 27 yards.

The running game was a bit limited. Redshirt freshman halfback Gainus Scott rushed six times for 14 yards. Senior wide receiver Bobby Wade took a reverse for 15 yards. Junior halfback Clarence Farmer rushed just three times for six yards, and Jones picked up 11 yards on three carries.

Senior kicker Sean Keel made a 46-yard field goal, and junior Bobby Gill converted on a 32-yard field goal.


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