Cats first scrimmage a mixed bag

Arizona's first scrimmage of the spring was a bit rough around the edges, but that is to be expected after nearly four months off. The offense and the defense traded a few big plays but showed that better things are to come.

The first thing you noticed is that the players do appear to be bigger, faster and stronger. Despite improved physical conditioning, the quality of play was appropriate for a team that has conducted just three practices.

The offense came out gangbusters. Willie Tuitama and Chris Henry led the first team offense on a 75-yard drive capped off by a fourth and goal on the one-yard line. The Cats showed run, but play actioned and Tuitama hit fullback Brandon Lopez on a quick swing pass for an easy score.

The second team offense came on the field and continued to move the ball. They crossed mid-field before the defense stiffened.

The rest of the scrimmage saw the two units battle. The offense moved the ball but could never mount a long drive.

Tuitama and Adam Austin alternated at quarterback but it was Tuitama who was on the field for the next score. Unfortunately, for the offense, it was the defense that would finish the scoring. Tuitama drove the offense deep into the defenses territory but his final pass was picked off Wilrey Fontenot and the junior-to-be raced 85 yards for the score.

Tuitama was not at his sharpest, but was not terrible either. He completed 10-17 passes for just 128 yards. Austin added 47 yards on 5-8 passing.

Chris Henry got the bulk of the carries and showed off the mix speed and power that has had Wildcat fans hopeful. He rushed 18 times for 53 yards, but was able to get to the corner on several occasions against the Wildcat first team defense. Xavier Smith could not break past the front of the defense and picked up just 21 yards on seven carries.

Several plays really stood out. The first was a difficult catch by Mike Thomas over the middle. Tuitama made an iffy decision to throw over the middle but Thomas snatched a high throw while being sandwiched between two defenders.

The big hit of the day was courtesy of Dominic Patrick. Henry made a great move to avoid a tackle in the backfield, but that left him vulnerable and Patrick delivered a vicious shot to the ribs that caused Henry to cough up the football. Henry was shaken up but returned a few days later. Although many fans reading this may worry that Henry's fumbleitis has returned, let me assure you that there are not many running backs would have hung onto the football after a hit like that.

Statistics (Courtesy Arizona Sports Information)


PASSING (15-25-175yds, 1 TD, I INT):

Tuitama 10-17-128yds, TD, INT; Austin: 5-8-47yds


RUSHING (26-77yds – sacks not included)

C. Henry 18-53yds, X. Smith 7-21yds, T. Longbons 1-3yds



Lopez 3-13, TD; Henry 2-38, A. Johnson 2-16, M. Thomas 1-22, Tr. Bell 1-22, Steptoe 1-14, McCoy 1-13, Dennard 1-11, Richards 1-10, McCall 1-9



Palmer, 5; Larsen, 4; Kelley, 4; J. Parker, 3; Fontenot, 3; Tatum, 3; Rodriguez, 3; Patrick, 3; Dotson, 2; McCovy, 2; Cason, 2; Hollingsworth, 2; Barnett, 2; Krogstad, 2; Turner, 2; McKinney, 1; R. Parker, 1; M. Smith, 1; Shelton, 1; M. Johnson, 1; Bertrand, 1; B. Ring, 1



J. Parker – 3, Dotson – 1, R. Parker – 1, McKinney – 1



J. Parker – 3, Dotson – 2, McKinney – 1, Johnson – 1, R. Parker – 1, Palmer -1



Fontenot – 1, TD



Johnson – 2, Cason – 1, Fontenot – 1, J. Parker – 1


Forced Fumbles (1):

Palmer – 1

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