LINKS FROM DAY TWO (SUNDAY):
— Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez puts three walk-ons on scholarship (Anthony Gimino, TucsonCitizen.com)
— Arizona football updates B.J. Denker, Davonte’ Neal and Austin Hill (Gimino, TucsonCitizen.com)
— Arizona Wildcats football: News and notes from day two of fall camp (Daniel Berk, Arizona Daily Star)
— GOAZCATS.com is one of the only sites that shows Arizona’s full roster (including the newcomers)
QUOTE TO NOTE:
“Coaching quarterbacks for 28 years has given me a pretty good idea of what to do. We know what we want. It’s pretty simple, either you can execute the plays and the offense or you can’t. That’s how we pick who plays all positions. If you can execute the position, and obviously quarterback is a lot of execution, you’ll play. If you can’t, you won’t.” — Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez
CONCERN: Depth at linebacker is no longer a concern for Rodriguez but a lack of experience is something that he must contend with in 2013. Rodriguez noted to the Tucson media Sunday that the linebacker position was the thinnest he’s experienced as a head coach last season. In order to plug holes last year left from Rob Hankins having to retire from football for medical reasons and Akron transfer Brian Wagner quitting the sport, Rodriguez and his staff were forced to move Marquis Flowers from the “spur” safety position to outside linebacker last season. Flowers remains in that role. Arizona has five newcomers at linebacker (all freshmen): Ryan Dunn, DeAndre Miller, R.J. Morgan, Derrick Turituri and Philip Wright. “In 20-some years of coaching I’ve never been as thin as we were at linebacker last year,” he said. “Now the depth is mostly freshmen or young guys, but I certainly think we have a little more size and the ability to play more people.”
LOOKING GOOD: Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Johnny Jackson, who looks like a mini Trung Canidate with his No. 30 uniform, was awarded a scholarship by Rodriguez this season after catching 25 passes for 187 yards last year as a walk-on. He caught 10 of those passes (nine in the second quarter) at Stanford in the 54-48 shootout loss in which Matt Scott completed 45 of 69 passes — both school records — for 491 yards and three touchdowns. Jackson left the game in the third quarter because of an ankle injury. “I can’t wait for him to get back out there,” Scott told Gimino during the week after that game. “He’s a great player. Even when it’s not the ideal situation, he’s still going to grab the ball and hold on to it and make a play. The greatest thing about him is he’s so little, but he plays like he’s bigger. I like him a lot.” Former walk-ons Sir Thomas Jackson, who adds depth to the linebacker position, and nose guard Tevin Hood have also been awarded scholarships.
— Sophomore defensive lineman Dan Pettinato (knee) will be out for a “few weeks”, according to Rodriguez.
— Junior quarterback Jesse Scroggins (concussion) did not practice yesterday. He could be cleared to practice tonight.
ANALYSIS: Thank goodness cooler heads prevailed over the Hood-Cody Ippolito skirmish that occurred on the sidelines during the UA’s game against Nevada in the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 15. Both players were dismissed from the game by Rodriguez and sent home with their parents. That was a logical move by Rodriguez at the time given that it occurred on national television. If something like that happened away from the public eye in practice — and it happens many times with every team — nobody except the football players and coaches would know about it. Hood’s addition as a scholarship player this season signifies what Arizona’s coaching staff thinks of the senior. No doubt some fans believed Hood and/or Ippolito should have been kicked off the team for fighting each other in front of an ESPN audience. My opinion is a team never wants a player to fist-fight another, especially in the public eye, but it shows a sense of … well, fight … from the players. It shows some ferocity. I would welcome that as a coach and get these guys to channel that aggression against the opponent. — Javier Morales, WILDABOUTAZCATS.net
WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes blogs for Lindy’s College Sports, TucsonCitizen.com and Sports Illustrated-sponsored site ZonaZealots.com.