Arizona football coach Jedd Fisch walked off the practice field a little before noon on Friday and said, “we had a good first day.”
It was Arizona’s first Fall practice under first-year head coach Fisch, who got up early because, well, he wanted to make sure everything went as well as could be expected.
“I probably had the same energy and excitement as those guys did,” Fisch said, comparing him to his players. “It’s not the first practice I’ve coached at, but I am excited where our team is going.”
UA started practice at 8:30 a.m. and went a little after 11 a.m. Practices resumes early Saturday morning.
“I like the way our team looks, they look better,” he said, presumably compared to the Spring drills. “They look like you’re moving around, they look stronger than they do in the spring. I like the type of uniforms we’re wearing right now, and they look sharp.
“…we need to be better as a football team, but we’re getting there.”
One day, one play, one step at a time. Arizona faces Brigham Young a month from this weekend.
The main focus was on the quarterbacks: Grant Gunnells, Will Plummer and Jordan McCloud, who Fisch said he had never seen him throw a football in person until Friday.
All three will be taking equal number of reps for the first few days then Arizona will figure it out afterward. Day one was, well, inconsistent but still good.
“I thought all the quarterbacks did okay, we had too many misses,” Fisch said. “It’s not what we are looking for in regard to probably completion percentage. We need better velocity I ball. I think there was a little bit of that … all three of them I think had a little bit of butterflies, a little bit of that nervous jitters.”
What Fisch said he wanted them to know is that they “don’t have to win the job on the first day and I think they all felt that. They all can throw the football. I have no doubt that Jordan throws a pretty ball, it spins nicely out of his hand. He moves well in the pocket, but all of them I can sense were just a little bit hesitant on pulling the trigger and probably pretty normal on the first day.”
There’s plenty of time to work on everything. And we all assume they all have equal shots of starting on Sept. 4 in Las Vegas.
Still, Day One may have “stressful.”
Plummer said that and, well, Cruz didn’t say otherwise.
“There’s a little bit of stress, there’s a little bit of pressure because … you want to be the guy,” Cruz said. “But really, pressure is a privilege. If you have the pressure on you, you know you have a chance to make an impact.”
Newcomer Jardon McCloud is hoping to be that guy, too. It was his first full practice with his UA teammates, given he transferred from South Florida this summer.
“One practice, right?” said Jimmie Dougherty, UA’s quarterback’s coach. “So, I don’t want to say anything one way or another right now. I was impressed overall. It’s a lot that we throw at these guys. I thought he came out and made some throws. There are some things that I know he wants back right now, missed a couple of easy ones. But all in all, stepping in the huddle, calling plays, operating and doing all those things, I thought it was pretty good for Day One.”
Ring of Honor
The first order of business on Friday after football practice, Fisch said former UA players Brooks Reed and Earl Mitchell will be added to the program’s Ring of Honor.
Each qualifies for being in the NFL for 10 years. They played at UA in the late 2000s.
A native Tucsonan Reed, who went to Sabino High, made the All-Pac-10 First Team in in 2010 when he had 6.5 sacks and a career-high 47 tackles.
Reed played for the Houston Texans, Atlanta Falcons, Arizona Cardinals and Tennessee Titans.
Mitchell played for the Texans, Dolphins, 49ers and Seahawks.
“I’m really excited to honor them,” Fisch said.
Impressive first day
Dorian Singer, a preferred wide receiver walk-on from Phoenix, was so impressive Friday that Fisch made it a point to single him out.
“He competed his tail off,” Fisch said.