Cats gear up for Saturday scrimmage

Arizona was back in full pads and gearing up for its first scrimmage of the fall. For the second straight day the weather cooperated and it was a great afternoon for a little football.

There were no great changes to the structure of practice, so we'll begin with an injury report. Byron Smith, Ricky Parker, Michael Johnson and Mike Bell were all held out. Head coach Mike Stoops indicated that none of the injuries were serious and that all four should be back early next week, although none will play in Saturday's scrimmage.

Early on the defensive linemen and the linebackers were working together. The front seven was going through a sort of walk-through. They were covering various formations and situations. They obviously want to be prepared to go live on Saturday.

The DBs worked extensively on their coverages and schemes.

On the offensive side the wide receivers did a number of drills that focused on making adjustments and finding the ball in the air.

After the individual position work the team stayed on its usual script and had the two lines do running plays, while the DBs and WRs squared off on the other side of Rincon Vista.

Next up was the 7-on-7s. As per normal Richard Kovalcheck and Adam Austin alternated every other snap. Early on it was rough as the two went one for their first five before Kovalcheck found a target all alone downfield for a 40+ yard gain.

Midway through they did some work in the redzone with mixed results. They completed 4-8 passes, but none for more than seven yards and no scores. Kovalcheck threw an interception to Michael Beach as well.

All told Kovalcheck was 3-5 for at least 55 yards. Austin was just 1-5 for five yards, while Willie Tuitama was a respectable 3-4 for 17 yards.

They moved onto 11-on-11 work next. Much of the session was in the redzone as well and Kovalcheck found Brad Wood in the back of the endzone for a 15-yard touchdown. Austin found Anthony Johnson in the corner of the endzone for a five-yard score. It was a nice grab as Johnson had to really extend to make the catch. Xavier Smith had a rushing score. Although it is tough to gauge running plays because there is not tackling, no one touched the true freshman until after he crossed the goal line.

The numbers were okay for the 11-on-11 session. Kovalcheck was 6-13 for 80 yards. Austin was 5-9 for 35 yards and Tuitama was 1-3 for five yards.

The Cats will go twice on Saturday. The morning practice is closed to the public. The evening will be a scrimmage at 6 p.m. at the stadium. Coach Stoops indicated that it will mostly be 1st team offense vs. 1st team defense and the two second teams squaring off.

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