TUCSON -- Forget that pass-happy offense attack. Arizona football's defense dominated Saturday's public scrimmage behind four total interceptions -- two from cornerback Trevin Wade -- and an improving defensive frontline.
Head coach Mike Stoops liked what he saw from his secondary especially, but noted that the offense got going once the quarterbacks started taking jabs downfield, the only touchdown on the evening coming by way of the usual Nick Foles to Juron Criner connection for a 39-yard touchdown.
"We got off to a slow start offensively," Stoops said after the game. "I thought our coverage guys were sitting on us. We got to stretch the field. We have the players to go vertical, and you need to do that sometimes to get people off of you."
Well, let's hope that's the case. Stoops said he has no problem with opponents taking away the run game and forcing his Wildcats to throw the ball 50 times in some games, but realistically, that will hurt Arizona in goal line situations.
What's the run game look like?Without a bludgeoning runner in the backfield, throwing the ball 50 times still could be a problem. Then again, sophomore runningback Daniel Jenkins showed pretty good vision with the ability to make plays off dump-off catches, finishing with four catches for 40 yards.
Jenkins was rolling along nicely as likely starter Keola Antolin sat out for precautionary reasons. It was an ugly scene, then, when Jenkins caught a screen in the flats and appeared to have his foot catch in the grass before going down without contact. He received a little icing and sat out the rest of the scrimmage, but was standing up without the appearance of too much pain by the end of the night.
Missing the scrimmage to attend a funeral, Kylan Butler's absence gave way to Canyon Del Oro runningback Ka'Deem Carey, who put on a show seemingly out of his high school video highlights. After pulling off a 42-yard kick return from the goal line, Carey saw time as the feature back and ran off a 38-yard run after taking a pitch to the right side of the field. He finished the night with eight rushes for 69 yards.
"You can see what a lift he gives our team," Stoops said. "He's an electrifying runner, he's a big physical kid with break-away speed.
"We have to bring him along."
Uh oh, there goes that kicking game again
Of course, you were wondering about the kickers. Jaime Salazar got the first kick of the day and between Alex Zendejas and him, the team went 2-for-4 in field goals, one of which received a smattering of boos from the (this is total guestimation) 6,000-7,000 fans in attendance.
Obviously, Mr. Stoops was not pleased.
"The kicking game was erratic and inconsistent," he said. "That's disappointing."