Rookies receive second cram session

Arizona coach John Mackovic left it to a true Wildcat to impart an important tradition to the 29 newest Wildcats. No one will question the commitment of any of the coaches, but it was Wildcat alum Charlie Dickey who had the honor of the final lesson of the first day of rookie practice. Dickey, who undoubtedly bleeds the cardinal and navy, taught the rookies the words and melody to "Bear Down".

The Wildcats' hope to be singing the fight song a lot this season. After all the team belts out their rendition of "Bear Down" after every victory. What better lesson to end the first day with than teaching them the victory song?

"Charlie did a nice job didn't he?" Mackovic said.

There was a lot more taught today than just the fight song. The coaches continued to cram as much instruction as they could into the two-hour practice session. The young players are being inundated with information in an attempt to get them up to speed as soon as possible.

"We're teaching a lot," said Mackovic. "We're trying to get these guys to understand the nomenclature, what we're doing, the plays. It is hard, but we are trying to teach them as much as we can as fast as we can."

For the second straight practice a special teams player made a huge impression. Kicker Nick Folk showed that he has the leg and accuracy that the Wildcats have been looking for.

"I'm pleased to report that Nick Folk kicked just as well tonight as Danny Baugher punted this morning," said Mackovic. "I'm very pleased that this is the dawn of a new era. I believe that we can have in our future, potentially, the top two specialists in the Pac-10 or maybe in the country as they mature and develop. I am very pleased with what they look like coming in."

The original plan was for Folk to redshirt, but he could push the incumbent kickers for either the placekicking or kickoff chores.

"Ideally he would sit," Mackovic said. "We just have to wait and see. He's a good kickoff man as well. I know the guys from the spring are going to battle for the kickoff job."

Special teams was an emphasis for much of the practice. After going through a series of agility drills, the team broke up into smaller groups to work on various aspects of special teams.

A large group of players worked on long snapping. Graduate assistant Jeff Rogers worked closely on technique, trying to see which players have a shot at developing into long snappers. Tanner Bell and Kili Lefotu worked primarily on short, placekicking snaps, while Tim Volk, Jake Belshe, Matt Padron, Marcus Smith and Spencer Larsen worked on long snapping. The two quarterbacks, Ryan O'Hara and Matt Belshe served as holders.

Padron was another standout. The big tight end caught a number of passes and showed very solid route running skills. He also showed some rare finesse for a 255-pound player. Padron gave safety Lamon Means a little head fake and easily caught a pass over the middle.

"The hands belong to Matt Padron," Mackovic said. "He is a pass catching tight end at 250 pounds. One ball went through his hands on a long ball, but everything else that was close he caught."

Notes:

*Beau Carr is still mainly an observer. The earliest he can be expected to fully participate is Saturday. He still has to undertake some tests and wait for results.
*A number of veterans came by to observe. Mackovic joked that they were curious about their new teammates, but not so curious that they were there at 7:30 in the morning for the first practice.
*Mackovic submitted a report to the NCAA about possible violations that were brought to light after an ESPN piece on summer conditioning. The possible violations occurred when Mackovic and his staff received some information on participation during voluntary workouts. The NCAA is expected to act but severe penalties do not seem likely.


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