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Arizona Wildcats fall camp scrimmage likes, disappointments and general observations

Some more notes from the scrimmage

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
  • Nate Phillips had the best all-around performance on the day. He seemed to be Anu Solomon's primary target and was running a variety of routes. It's good to see him bounce back from his foot injury.
  • Anu Solomon looked great and had a strong command of the offense. His throws have definitely improved and he's much more accurate in year two. He had some well placed balls to Cayleb Jones and Nate Phillips all day long.
  • Brandon Dawkins has the ability to break free for a big run, using exceptional speed. But, he relies on his speed too much and doesn't look downfield all that often when he's on the run. He definitely doesn't have the same comfortability as Jerrard Randall in the pocket, but that should come with more experience. Randall is the clear No. 2, but Rich Rod said that Dawkins has really been pushing him.
  • One surprise in the depth chart was seeing Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles in the mix with first and second team, over Devon Brewer, who had been running with the first and second team all spring. Flannigan-Fowles has had a strong fall camp, but I always felt like Brewer would have the edge, given his extra semester in the system.
  • DaVonte' Neal might just be the number one corner for Arizona this year, leaving it up to Cam Denson and Sammy Morrison to compete and split time at the number two spot. With Jarvis McCall's injuries, it's hard to rely on him as a consistent option. But Morrison looks good for now, and another guy in the secondary worth noting is Anthony Mariscal, that according to Jamar Allah.
  • One thing I liked from the defensive line was the use of shifts prior to the snap. Whether it's designed or a command after reading the offensive line and the formation, the last second shifts can definitely go a long way to disguise the defense.
  • An interesting formation that I really liked seeing was a dual-back set. It was run with Jarrett Mitchell and Branden Leon. It left the defense guessing on read options, since the ball could have gone to either back, or kept by the quarterback. This also leaves a slot receiver on the field, giving the quarterback many different options.
  • Jonathan Haden might just be too fast for his own good. He's very shifty and is able to turn the corner, but at times seemed like he was looking downfield too early on a couple of passes in the flats, dropping a pass or stumbling after the reception.
  • One disappointment was that there wasn't really a whole lot of tight end involvement in the offense. Trevor Wood did not play, but Josh Kern was in on a lot of snaps throughout the day, as was Darrell Cloy. Kern didn't get a whole lot of targets and there wasn't a strong red zone presence, as Rich Rodriguez elected to run the ball inside the 10 yard line. Cloy served more as an extra blocker in the red zone.