You could see the excitement in Bryce Wolma’s face. He was happy.
You could hear it in the Arizona coaches’ voices. They were excited.
You could hear it and feel it on the Arizona practice field.
The energy was there. The excitement – at least for a first practice under the rain and then under the dome – was there.
The malaise that was last year – maybe even the last three years – was gone.
Let the Arizona football honeymoon begin!
“I liked our energy,” said Jedd Fisch, Arizona’s new sheriff in town when it comes to football. “I liked our enthusiasm. Now we just have to improve upon what we’re trying to get done.”
That would be get better every day here in Spring ball. What that means is just play with energy and enthusiasm, something that was seemingly missing under former UA coach Kevin Sumlin the last couple of years and clearly the last one.
“It was a blast,” Fisch said, of the first day of spring ball under un-spring-like weather. “It was a great day.”
Typically, Arizona media that covers the football team isn’t privy to what goes on for a complete practice, but this is a new dawn for a new day under Fisch. The media has gotten its wish of being allowed access to practice.
What they witnessed was a productive first day, one where even the tight end was thrown a ball or two or five.
“As you can see they are incorporating a lot more with the tight end with two tight end sets,” said Wolma, a veteran tight end. “It’s been awesome so far.”
Yes, indeed, it’s a new day. One where coaches are figuring out the difference between Gunner Cruz and Gunner Maldanado.
The talent between Kevin Doyle and Luke Ashworth. The similarities of Jalen Harris and brother Jason.
Day one was a success.
Smart passes. Tough catches were to be had on Day 1.
“They all did some good and some not so good,” Fisch said. “There are things we got to get better at and work on. But it was the first day out there trying to learn a new system. We tried to go fast. There’s a lot (to learn).”
What Fisch made clear right away – and others confirmed – at the core of playing time will be about competition and that’s mentally and physically. You get better by being better against your teammates.
“We hope that they learn from it,” Fisch said.
For everyone involved – especially from the new coaching staff – it as good to be outside working on football.
“It was good to get out and compete,” said Don Brown, UA’s defensive coordinator. “I got what I thought I would get in terms of effort and energy.”
Brown called it “all excellent.”
His message on defense was the same as he told the media a few months ago when hired. Be aggressive.
“If you don’t run to the ball, you’re never going to play … EVER,” he said, for emphasis. “For the first day I think we ran pretty well to the ball.”
Brown did make one promise: “We’ll be ready to go in September.”
The countdown is on … just five-plus months away from the Jedd Fisch Era.
“I think what we have here is going to be outstanding,” Fisch said. “We’re going to take this to a whole new level, and I can’t wait to be part of this thing and watch our players go.”