O'Hara gaining confidence

During the early stages of camp quarterback Ryan O'Hara played like a player just out of high school. Good thing for the young quarterback that he actually was just four months removed from high school. O'Hara has struggled a bit with the complicated Arizona offense and the overall speed of the college game. However, the past few days has seen the young signal caller showcase the skills that made him a top quarterback recruit.

It seems as if things have started to click for O'Hara. Either that or he just plays well under the bright lights of Arizona Stadium. On Friday night, the team's first in the stadium, O'Hara was 4-8, for 37 yards and two scores in 7-on-7 drills. He was 8-18 for 122 yards and three touchdowns in the next night's scrimmage.

"The last two nights I have felt comfortable with the offense. I'm finally starting to memorize my routes and learn the progressions they want me to go through. It's starting to click, but I'm looking forward to the time when it all comes together."

O'Hara was able to showcase his terrific arm strength on a couple of long passes. He is also very mobile for a 6-6 player. Despite his quickness, O'Hara is learning that running isn't always the best thing to do.

"My line was giving me time," O'Hara said. "Just stepping up and making some throws. I've been working on my technique. Coach Dykes has really made me to step up in the pocket. I had a tendency in high school to run outside the pocket. I feel a little more comfortable in the pocket."

Despite the very good showing, the young player knows that he has a lot of work left to do. He can't just rest on his laurels from a scrimmage.

"It keeps me confident to continue on, but I'm sure tomorrow in films I'll see some mistakes I made. I still have a lot to learn. I've got a long way to go, but tonight was a good night."

O'Hara has no problem going deep. He is able to throw the long ball, but has struggled with short patterns. He realizes his underneath game is going to have to improve if he is going to be able to run an offense. He feels that developing touch on shorter throws is just a matter of technique.

"I have to shorten my throwing motion on underneath passes," O'Hara explained. "On the long ball I can just let it go with my long arms. On my underneath throws I'm working on shortening my motion so I can be on target to my backs and tight ends and hit them in the numbers."

Other than refining his throwing motion, O'Hara must learn the offense if he hopes to someday lead the Wildcats. Coach Mackovic's complex offense is not the easiest thing to learn, not even for a quarterback who was one of the smartest players at the Elite-11 quarterback camp last summer. Despite it's complexities, O'Hara is picking up on things, even if it is taking him longer than he'd like.

"It has been a little harder than I expected, but that is why I came here," said O'Hara. "I wanted a complicated offense. You have a lot of options on each play. You have a number of different targets to throw to. I'm just trying to make big steps in learning."

Despite his solid showing, O'Hara is probably headed for a redshirt season to better learn the system. In addition, the tall quarterback needs to pack some weight onto his 6-6 frame. He is currently listed at 195 pounds, and looks like he could carry at least 20 more. Despite the fact he may not play right away, O'Hara has shown that he has the tools and ability to lead the Wildcats. The young passer would like nothing more to lead Arizona to a bowl game in his hometown. Local media members may have dubbed him "Hollywood", but Mackovic will tell you he is really from "South L.A." That's right, Ryan O'Hara's hometown in Pasadena.

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