It's August everyone! Football has arrived! And on Saturday night at a revamped Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium, Arizona football returned to the gridiron for a full-team practice.
"Pretty good effort by a lot of guys, some not in shape," said head coach Rich Rodriguez.
"Got a handful of guys, upperclassmen, not freshman, that'll be doing a little extra to get in shape. Have to understand what it takes to be an elite athlete."
He continued: "You have to live and train and prepare like an elite athlete. If you don't, then it shows up."
Coach also noted that the defense looked better than it did last year, exactly what he expected. Don't know how it really gets any worse than it was last year.
The one word he used to describe the first day? "Uneven."
Here's a few notes from what I saw from the first practice.
The night started off with Anu Solomon taking reps with Ka'Deem Carey during passing drills, but it switched into B.J. Denker taking most of the first team reps in drills, and also 7-on-7 and 11-on-11.
It should also be noted that junior college transfer Jesse Scroggins (formerly of USC) did not practice due to a concussion he suffered in a freak accident during a workout. "He didn't get cleared yet for today, hopefully he'll be cleared for tomorrow."
Anu Solomon had some deep completions throughout the night, but he and Denker also threw a couple picks each. One Denker pick drew some serious heat from RichRod. Denker was unavailable to talk to after practice.
This is the order in which QBs were doing drills against the defense:
- B.J. Denker
- Anu Solomon
- Nick Isham
- Khari McGee
- Javelle Allen
- Connor Brewer
A couple guys looked very impressive, a couple did not. First off, Davonte' Neal's speed is the real deal. Easily the fastest guy during drills.
Trey Griffey has some nice moves in the open field when he catches the ball, but the freshman had several drops on the night.
Best route runners: Juniors Trevor Ermisch and Garic Wharton. Wharton was favoring his right knee after the end-of-practice running session though.
Soph. Johnny Jackson looked really good in the slot, made some great catches against press coverage.
Worst Night Award:
The guy who looked like was having the worst night of his life was freshman safety Jarvis McCall Jr. out of Armwood HS in Tampa, FL. He got absolutely trucked in hitting drills, and that seemed to throw him off the rest of practice. He couldn't cover anyone, and was getting lit up by the coaches the entire time. He struggled keeping up in all the drills really, kind of felt bad for him.
It's one night, so certainly a lot will change in the coming weeks. But these are just my takeaways from the opening night of practice.