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Arizona football: Starters impress at Wildcats' open scrimmage

Get excited

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats held a scrimmage that was open to the media and Wildcat Club members in some pretty warm weather Saturday morning on campus.

The biggest takeaway is that the starters on both sides of the ball appear to be in great shape and ready to produce. But the second team is leaving something to be desired.

"We still gotta get better at the twos," Rich Rodriguez said after practice. "Just judging from my view, the two on offense and two on defense, we gotta get more guys ready to play, because we can't play just eleven on either side with our schedule and expect to last, so we gotta get that developed pretty quick."

Throughout the scrimmage, the "one" offense was going up against the "two" defense, and the "two" offense was going up against the "one" defense, and it showed. Jerrard Randall struggled mightily at the beginning when facing the true starters on defense before some guys started to get rotated out.

"I think Jerrard was okay at times, and other times he made a few mistakes here and there," coach said of his backup quarterback. "He's a talented guy, but one thing about Jerrard is it's really important to him, so he'll keep working to correct his mistakes."

Anu Solomon certainly wasted no time showing why he's still the clearcut starter. He led the offense to a touchdown drive each time he was on the field, and showed off some deep ball passing skills with a bomb to Cayleb Jones. One thing that stood out though was that Nate Phillips seemed to be the primary target for Anu.

"Nate's been consistent all camp," Rodriguez stated.

"It more feels good just to get back out there and doing it again," Phillips said about coming back to full action after suffering a foot injury last year. "I haven't been restricted at all this camp. They just try to limit me on some individual stuff to give my foot a break, but other than that, all the live stuff feels good."

Another interesting thing with Phillips is that he was the only guy who actually went back and caught a punt when it was full 11-on-11 special teams work.

Samajie Grant also looked very impressive out there, shaking defenders on a regular basis with his shifty moves in the open field. Trey Griffey was the fourth receiver out there with the ones for the most part, and Josh Kern even caught a pass from Anu in the redzone to set up first and goal at one point. Trevor Wood was out with an injury, and has been dealing with it off and on throughout camp.

Offensive line

Throughout the day, Zach Hemmila was back to being the first-team left guard, with Cayman Bundage at center. Left guard seems to be the one position that's truly up in the air, with T.D. Gross and Hemmila competing for that spot. The starting offensive line looked good with Lene Maiava back in full action, but the second string O-line didn't look particularly great, which hurt Randall's productivity as well.


Here's a look at what appeared to be the starting defense. Although I think Derrick Turituri was held out of action today.

Defensive line: Reggie Gilbert, Sani Fuimaono, Luca Bruno

Linebackers: Scooby Wright III, Cody Ippolito, DeAndre' Miller

Corners: DaVonte' Neal and Sammy Morrison

Safeties: Jamar Allah, William Parks and Tellas Jones

Morrison has been with the ones for over a week now, so I would expect him to see the field a decent amount as a true freshman. Cam Denson was playing on the same side as Morrison, just with the twos instead of the ones. Denson also made a nice tackle on Griffey on one play, showing off his improved physicality. Neal came up with the lone interception on the day.

All in all, it was a very encouraging day for all the starters. It's going to be that development of depth that determines how well Arizona does this year though.