LINKS FROM DAY SIX (THURSDAY):
— Can inexperienced Arizona receivers catch on quickly? (Steve Rivera, FoxSportsArizona.com)
— Arizona Wildcats football: News and notes the team’s first day at Fort Huachuca (Daniel Berk, Arizona Daily Star)
— The Associated Press sent national college football reporter John Marshall to Tucson to do an article on the new Lowell-Stevens Facility. Much of it is old news for Tucsonans but this story will be run nationwide on most Internet sites.
QUOTE TO NOTE:
“We also want to give out a player of the day. We give them a protein bar, which is really insignificant but they like getting points and helping their unit out. We’ve had a different guy every day, which is a good thing.” — Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez
CONCERN: As Rivera points out in his FoxSportsArizona.com article, the Wildcats’ lack of experience at wide receiver must be a concern especially with an untested quarterback. The UA will have a new passing leader and receiver this season for the third consecutive year. The leaders last year were quarterback Matt Scott, who exhausted his eligibility, and receiver Austin Hill, who is likely out for the season with an ACL tear. Nick Foles and Juron Criner were the leading combination in 2011 and 2012. The familiarity and trust between Foles and Criner and Scott and Hill helped the UA twofold: First, production with yardage and touchdowns, and second, with deception, drawing defenses away from other potential targets to keep the opponent’s protection unbalanced. Who will fill that role for the Wildcats this season?
LOOKING GOOD: Freshman linebacker Derrick Turituri received good press for the second time early in fall camp. Anthony Gimino of TucsonCitizen.com wrote of Turituri (6-1, 250 pounds): “Turituri sure passes the eye test. He’s listed at 6-1 and 250 pounds, with a thick upper body, the kind of physical profile the Cats lack at the position.” Berk of the Arizona Daily Star writes from Fort Huachuca that Turituri has impressed Rodriguez to this point. “He’s a big, strong guy. I think his biggest role will be as a pass rusher that helps the defense. He’s one of the strongest guys on the team already,” Rodriguez said. Turituri is from Central Point (Ore.) Crater High School. He picked Arizona over Oregon State, Hawaii and Colorado.
— Junior quarterback Jesse Scroggins (concussion) missed practice Saturday and Sunday before being cleared to play Monday night.
— Sophomore defensive lineman Dan Pettinato (knee) will be out for a “few weeks”, according to Rodriguez.
— Defensive lineman Tevin Hood (knee tendinitis) was limited in practice Monday and Tuesday.
— Defensive tackle Justin Washington (leg) is also limited because he is “hobbled a bit”, according to Berk’s report on Tuesday.
ANALYSIS: Rodriguez gave insight to what Arizona does in between practice sessions at Fort Huachuca and overall during fall camp — plenty of team meetings. Among the agenda is the players getting to know each other personally by talking about life matters other than football. One of the snapshots of Thursday’s workout was two of Arizona’s staff members, including Matt Dudek, director of on-campus recruiting and player personnel, racing in a playful sprint to end practice. It is hard to imagine that kind of camaraderie between the coaching staff during the Mike Stoops era. Rodriguez’s staff and senior leaders such as Terrence Miller, Marquis Flowers and Jake Fischer are creating a sense of family and togetherness. That can not be discounted. Rich Rodriguez falls in line with Jim Young, Larry Smith and Dick Tomey as the best Arizona coaches to create a sense of trust among their most influential players.
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.