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Arizona moving from generalities to ‘specifics’ as 2018 opener approaches

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Wildcats host BYU on Sept. 1 in Kevin Sumlin’s debut

<span data-author="5158751">arizona-wildcats-football-2018-byu-specifics-depth-chart</span> Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Ten days out from his official debut as Arizona Wildcats head coach, Kevin Sumlin is starting to see the pieces fall into place for the first game. Training camp is coming to a close, meaning the focus has moved from laying the foundation to getting into the nitty gritty of that opener against BYU on Sept. 1.

“We’re starting to solidify our two-deep,” Sumlin said Wednesday night. “Looking at depth and rotations and things like that this week. Today was really a dedicated red zone practice. Third down situations were yesterday. Really getting into specifics and things we’re going to face.”

Sumlin said he has traditionally used the Saturday before a team’s first game to do “mock situations” that will cover all the bases. That includes adjusting to a new rule that sets a limit on the number of headsets (20) that can be split among players, coaches and graduate assistants both on the field and in the press box.

“We’ve had a couple of different exercises because of the new rule,” Sumlin said.

Sumlin said the first depth chart will be released next week, likely on Monday when he holds his weekly press conference previewing the upcoming game.

Below are some of the other notable topics Sumlin touched on with reporters:

On Khalil Tate’s continued development:

“It’s a little bit different, offensively, what we’re asking him to do. We’ve thrown a lot at him the first couple of weeks. For the first few weeks … you’re just calling plays and defenses. Now we’re starting to get to specific situations, specific looks.”

On the backup quarterback situation:

“It could be three-deep there. You’ll know when the depth chart comes out. They all have different skill sets. K’Hari (Lane) has obviously changed his body, and has been around a little bit, has done some good things. Rhett (Rodriguez) has done some really good things, at times. And the two young guys (true freshmen Kevin Doyle and Jamarye Joiner), we’ve kind of worked those guys. You’ve got two older guys that have a little experience, at least age and experience, they’re probably a little bit ahead. The two young guys, because of the new (redshirt) rule, they’re not out of the mix yet. The starter gets the majority of the reps, anyway, once we get (within) two weeks of the game. Situationally, probably next week, we’ll probably start to talk about, if something happens, who’s going into the game.”

On the offensive line:

“It’s been a little bit of everything. It’s been more of a rotation at different positions to try to find the right pieces. I think a lot of times people think in terms of five guys, but when you’re a little bit thin at that position and you’ve got a guy (senior left tackle Layth Freikh) who’s really out for a couple games you can’t just find the five, you’ve got to have a what-if plan.

On the status of freshman OL Donovan Laie’s knee injury:

“Donovan got hurt a couple weeks ago and has missed practice. He was doing really well. He’s back, doing some things. That was another setback. He’ll be back next week, and I look for him to be in some part of the rotation.”

On whether offensive linemen Nathan Eldridge and Alex Kosinski, both of whom have missed practice for unspecified reasons, are part of the rotation:

“Not right now.”

On the wide receiver depth beyond seniors Shun Brown and Shawn Poindexter:

“You’ve got a bunch of interchangeable parts now. The whole group, I think, has really, really improved. We don’t have any hesitation in the top six guys, top eight guys, to play them at any time.”

On walk-on WR Stanley Berryhill III earning a scholarship:

“Stanley Berryhill’s had a really, really nice camp. He released it on Twitter, you can tell how nice a camp he’s had. The team was absolutely elated because the guy has just worked his tail off. I’m kind of biased in this because I was one. It’s a big deal, not just financially. When that happens it’s really a statement that, hey, I belong here in Division I football. Obviously families are happy from a financial standpoint, but they’re also proud.”

On safety Scottie Young Jr.:

“Since he couldn’t work out (with us) we’ve had to be real slow with him. Realistically, right now, we can do that, because he’s not involved in the first game. We have other people … that we have to get ready. He’ll be all right.”

On the secondary:

“We’ve still got tape on the helmets with their names. If you look at our secondary back there, they’re all the same size. The safeties, the spur, and they’re rotating all around. The corners look a little different. We’ve changed a few people’s numbers. Those interchangeable parts are guys that are really athletic. I think we’ve got pretty good speed on the field.”

On if a decision has been made about whether Texas A&M transfers Robert Congel and Santino Marchiol will be eligible at Arizona:

“No.”

On whether he suggests plays to offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone:

“We’ll get together in between series and talk about what’s going on and what I see, and what the offensive staff sees. One of the hardest things to do, as a play caller, is to have guys chiming in. You have a certain thought process in your mind, and when someone else yells out something completely from left field it can screw you up. In between series we’ll have conversations about that. When you’re in a no-huddle system the majority of the time and snap the ball every 20 seconds there’s no time for a bunch of people to talk.”

On keeping scout team players motivated:

“That’s the hardest day when you go two weeks and get a different-colored jersey. There’s been a lot of guys that have done that. Remember, Sam Bradford redshirted. And Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans. Just cause you’re on scout team doesn’t mean you’re a bad player. It means there might be a really, really good player ahead of you.”

Kevin Sumlin met with the media Wednesday to update us on all things Arizona Football

Posted by AZ Desert Swarm on Wednesday, August 22, 2018