Practice Report: August 11th a.m.

The Wildcats inched just a bit closer to the season opener against Utah. Out of the way are reporting day, media day, the first day in pads and now the first two-a-day is in the books.

The Cats got it going early in the morning at Rincon Vista. Despite taking the field before 8 a.m., it was still hot and muggy. Any hopes of beating the heat with an early start vanished by the time the team finished stretching.

The team kept its normal schedule. After the stretch it went to individual positions drills and then broke up into larger groups. The lines went at it in running drills, while the wide outs and DBs went head to head in passing situations.

After these sessions the team took a short break and then went back into special teams work. With Mike Bell sidelined, Michael Thomas again fielded punts with Syndric Steptoe and Ryan Eidson. At the same time the punt team gunners got a little extra work in techniques to gain them separation from the return team players who try to press them at the line.

Players who were not involved in special teams worked on various drills at this time. One of those players was Bell who practiced alongside Chris Henry on pass catching. With a coach feeding footballs into a "pitching machine" the two backs took turns catching passes from the side while standing still. Bell put almost no pressure on his injured ankle, but showed that he was not happy just being an observer.

Neither quarterback looked great in 7-on-7s, but they were plagued by a few drops. Richard Kovalcheck and Adam Austin continued to split the reps. Kovalcheck was a respectable 6-9, with one of the incompletions being a drop, but when he missed he missed badly. One of his completions went for 15 yards, but required Ryan Eidson to make a nice leaping catch. All told he threw for about 55 yards.

Austin was just 1-6 for five yards. He did have a pass dropped. Willie Tuitama completed his lone attempt to Syndric Steptoe for five yards.

After that it was on to the 11-on-11s. The ending of the session was interesting as they used it for redzone situations. They started the series at the 20 and moved in a few yards every play regardless of outcome. Kovalcheck cracked the endzone on his second toss finding B.J. Vickers over the middle for what amounted to about a 17-yard score. Gilbert Harris had a run that looked like it could have gone for a score, but it is hard to tell as there is no tackling.

In his one redzone series Kovalcheck was 4-5 for 36 yards. All told in the 11-on-11 session he was 6-11 for 46 yards, but started off a shaky 2-6 with a dropped pass.

Austin was less effective in the redzone, but it really was not his fault. The second offensive line was being pushed around and he was sacked twice. His only two other snaps were handoffs to Xavier Smith. Austin was just 1-3 for five yards, getting sacked a total of three times.

Tuitama was a decent 2-3 for 10 yards, but looked underneath on both pass attempts.


*Tanner Bell was held out of practice for the second straight day with a mild concussion. Adam Hawes played on the first team in his place.

*DB's Dramayne McElroy and Michael Johnson were limited by the trainers.

*Instead of running the team did push-ups and sit-ups for its conditioning session. A few coaches joined them including linebacker coach Tim Kish.

*The team was in shells as per NCAA rules which prohibits teams from being in full pads twice in one day.

*The team is slated to go at 6 tonight, weather permitting.

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