The good news from Saturday’s Arizona football scrimmage was starting quarterback Jayden de Laura looked good and like a starting quarterback.
That’s somewhat different than what he had looked like earlier in the week and at points in the early practice season.
Practice No. 9 was pretty good to de Laura. On Thursday, he hadn’t looked so good, after two picks and some poor decisions.
Saturday he was more confident and surer of his throws.
Fisch said things may have clicked in a walk through earlier this week.
“He struggled the day before yesterday, but there were some things that he just needed to see,” Arizona coach Jedd Fisch said after the scrimmage that was in the heat of midday. “He just needed a rhythm, and he’s got a nice little confidence about himself that, when he feels that he knows something, he’s going to execute it really well.
“Sometimes when you have a new play coming in or a couple new things that he was maybe overthinking here and there, but Jayden is getting better every day. I just tell him to trust the process, and if you do that good things will come your way.”
Saturday was that day. But it was also for second-stringer Noah Fifita, who continues to have a good camp. Yes, the defense didn’t look good – after having looked good for most of the recent practices – but it’s missing some key guys back there due to various reasons.
It was perhaps de Laura’s best showing of the fall practices, lending one reporter to ask if de Laura might be more of a game-type player than a practice player … or a “gamer.”
“Guys that have the skill sets of a Jayden, that can run and throw, guys that are able to be slithery in the pocket like a Noah – even Jordan to a degree – that sometimes when you’re sitting back in the pocket and you’re not getting tackled in practice, it doesn’t look like you’re making some of the plays that you really would end up making,” the second-year head coach said. “I think those are really the gamers, the guys that can make plays in games that in practice they’re sitting back there and not really doing their natural (moves). I would say the other part of it is there are guys that can turn it up a notch when the lights are on, (on) the big stage, and those are the guys that can get those resting heart rates down.”
One of the big highlights was Fifita’s 83-yard TD pass to AJ Jones, who got past defenders on a long pass. He played mostly with the second team before taking snaps with the first team at the end of the scrimmage.