After talking to people that were in attendance at the second of 15 spring practices it is becoming clear that the program that Mike Stoops wants to build at Arizona is getting closer and closer. For the second straight session Junior RB Chris Henry was particularly impressive in team drills. Henry shows elusiveness, explosion and, perhaps best of all, is showing much more patience than he has in the past. Of course this is the second straight spring that Henry has been the talk of the camp but this year he seems to be more comfortable, more confident and is showing more of the leadership that hemust display this season.
The other two running backs also looked good again, especially Xavier Smith. There is no question that Smith has all of the tools needed to be a successful big time back in college and sofar he is displaying those traits in fullforce. Terry Longbons is a little behind Smith due to the surgery last fall but he is making waves and his true force will beshown and felt as soon as the team goes to full pads.
Willie Tuitama, Kris Heavner and Adam Austin all looked good in both 7 on 7's and full team drills. Tuitama is still learning but he is very fluid in just about everything he does and he is moving very well. It is not hard to tell that Heavner had been throwing a baseball instead of a football for a while but he seems to be getting the feel back. Austin has looked good in both days and with his smarts and experience he is going to battle Heavner for the backup role.
Through two practices so far maybe the most impressive offensive unit has been the wide receivers. Money Mike has been solid, as has the senior leader Syndric Steptoe, but Anthony Johnson and Bobby McCoy have both been particularly impressive so far. AJ has gotten noticeably bigger and stronger and seems to be playing with a lot more confidence and McCoy is very fluid and also has a higher level of confidence. McCoy is at his best when he does not have to battle at the line of scrimmage and can just use his natural speed and athleticism rather than strength.
The Offensive Line has been looking good butit is really hard to tell since the team has not yet been in full pads. For the first time in his tnure Eric Wolford has two legitimate lines he can throw out. Linemen that have stuck out so far are Eben Britton, Joe Longacre, Adam Hawes and James Tretheway.
Defensively the Cats are about what is expected, strong, fast and mean. The usual suspects have stuck out so far. Marcus Smith has been able to take a lot of reps and has looked good. Johnathan Turner at the other end has looked very good as well and 'JT' has really bulked up and is impressive physically.
The entire linebacking corps has looked good. Ronnie Palmer, Dane Krogstad and Spencer Larsen were all impressive on Wednesday. Adrian McCovy has made the move to the MIKE and looks very natural at the spot although he has a lot of learning yet to do. Xavier Kelley has shown great burst at the WILL and his speed is very impressive. Marcus Hollingsworth has been steady at the nickel and has worked a little at the SAM spot.
The Secondary has looked impressive, especially considering how much better the wide receiver corps has gotten. Antoine Cason has developed into a leader and Michael Johnson has shown the skills needed also. The one minor surprise has been Safety Dominic Patrick. Patrick has shown a lot better knwoledge of the defense and has shown that he definitely has the ability to challenge Brandon Tatum and Nate Ness in the fall for the starting free safety spot.
The Special Teams work out mostly at the beginning of practice and Senior kicker Nick Folk has shown off his leg early and often. He simply never misses and has the leg to be good from 60.
Friday's practice is again closed to the public but Saturday's Scrimmage at 10AM is open to the general public.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday the Wildcat coaches are hosting their annual Coaches Clinic. One of the guest speakers from the high school ranks is Scooter Molander from Brophy Prep in Phoenix.