Cats debut offense in first spring scrimmage

The new Arizona offense made its public debut as the Wildcats had their first scrimmage of fall drills. It wasn't a perfect display, but the Wildcats did show some promise in the hour and a half scrimmage at Arizona Stadium.

Things started off slowly for the offense, but by the end of the day they showed some good things. For the most part the offense was fairly basic, but there were some noticeable differences from last year's scheme.

Tyler Lyon was the first quarterback to really move the team. Thanks to a series of short passes, including a quick hitter to Xavier Smith for about 10 yards, the Wildcats faced first and goal from the four.

Unfortunately, the offense could not convert. Lyon fumbled the snap on first down and lost six yards. Nate Ness was the hero on second down as he made a diving deflection of a pass that was headed into the waiting arms of Travis Bell. They team failed to convert on third down and came away scoreless when Jason Bondzio had his 22-yard field goal was blocked at the line.

Willie Tuitama led the offense on their next lengthy drive, but it would be the defense who came away with the points. After suffering two drops on the previous drive, the receivers stepped up with some tough catches. Tuitama avoided a sack and found Mike Thomas over the middle for a very difficult third down conversion. Keith Jennings rattled off a 20-yard run, and followed that up with a six yard run.

Tuitama attempted to hit an out pattern but Spencer Larsen read the pass, picked it off and raced 75 yards for the score.

The Wildcats did not go deep often, but it was Kris Heavner who was the lone passer to connect on a deep ball. Heavner hung up a deep pass that the defensive back miss-timed and Bobby McCoy made the catch and rambled for a 50 yard gain. The drive stalled at the 19 and Bondzio missed on a 39-yard attempt.

Tuitama finally led the offense to their first score. Anthony Johnson made a tough 17-yard catch over the middle, then Jennings ran for 20 yards and took a shovel pass for seven yards. On third and short Xavier Smith busted a 12-yard run that set up Tuitama's five-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Simmons.

After the score it was time to take a break and work on the punting game. Keenyn Crier showed off his powerful leg almost from the start. His first kick went 41 yards, then his next four went 48, 53, 55 and 60 yards.

Lyon returned to action and the drive would feature Terry Longbons quite a bit. His first carry went for 15 yards and he followed that up with runs of four, four and a two-yarder to convert on third and short. A few short pass helped the offense march to the 20, but the drive went no further and Bondzio made his first kick of the day, converting on a 37-yarder.

Tuitama looked again to Johnson over the middle and drove the offense down to the five before Jennings capped the drive with a five-yard run.

Heavner got the Wildcats their score. A Smith ran for 20-yards, Johnson caught a 15-yarder and Longbons took a shovel pass 14-yards before the offense petered out at the 15 and Bondzio finished things off with a 32-yard kick that split the uprights.

NOTES:
*A number of players were held out of action, including Antoine Cason who has a tack meet. Dominic Patrick and Brandyn McCall were previously healthy players who were held out for precautionary reasons.

*Devin Ross rejoined the team and saw considerable action.


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