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Arizona football: Wildcats approaching the halfway point of spring practice

We're almost halfway through Arizona spring practice

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats have made it through more than a third of spring practice and there have been plenty of observations. We've been able to give you everything from roster updatesobservations from the first two days of spring practicequarterback competitionCam Denson's position changethe culture change on defense, and updates from Marcel Yates and Sani Fuimaono.

Now, here are some more notes on what's been going on in spring practice:

Rich Rodriguez after 6th spring practice

Tellas Jones cited with three misdemeanors

Word came out that Tellas Jones was in some legal trouble, cited with three misdemeanors in Scottsdale, where he will appear in court later next week.

Tellas Jones has been not been a participant in practice this spring. However, his misdemeanors are not related to his absence. Rich Rodriguez cited "personal issues" when talking about his senior safety earlier this week at practice.

Tony Ellison a name to watch out for, again

Last spring, a lot of the receivers said that Tony Ellison was a guy to watch out for. Will Parks, Trey Griffey, Nate Phillips, all gave their seal of approval on Ellison. This spring, when asked about a receiver to watch out for, Samajie Grant said Tony Ellison. Grant believes that Ellison is the next Julian Edelman and gives him a 99% chance of starting at some point this upcoming season.

"He's been one of the best route runners, his release moves are clean and he's physical. Just an overall good receiver," Samajie Grant said after practice on Wednesday.

After practice on Thursday Rodriguez said that he would expect Tony Ellison to crack the starting rotation.

Samajie Grant battling through his injuries

Just nagging injuries for Grant, and he has to play soft on it but continues to play through it. Not being able to play to his full ability is frustrating but he's going to do what it takes to produce in his senior year, coming off a disappointing junior campaign.

Anthony Mariscal will see a lot of reps this season

Rich Rodriguez has said that safety is a very thin position. Every guy at safety will be getting reps because of graduation, after losing Jamar Allah, Anthony Lopez and Will Parks. Through the last five spring practices, when Mariscal's name gets brought up, players have nothing but great things to say about him.

Paul Magloire has still been working with the linebackers, and while they're going to be moving him around and there's still plenty of time, I think he might actually stay as a hybrid linebacker, adding more speed on the field. With that being said, I think the safeties will be Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, Tellas Jones, and Anthony Mariscal.

Trey Griffey to carry heavier workload this season

It's no surprise that Arizona is lacking size at the wide receiver position. Trey Griffey checks in at 6-3 and then Shawn Poindexter will be coming in at 6-6. After that, the main contributors will likely be under 6-0, giving Griffey a strong combination of height and Pac-12 experience.

Size not a concern for a go-to receiver

But that's not to say that he is the go-to receiver. Rodriguez believes that in his offense there doesn't need to be a go-to receiver, noting that they can have any of their pass catchers be go-to guys. Rodriguez had said that Trey Griffey is going to be playing more than he ever has and getting a lot of looks.

Samajie Grant also talked about the lack of height at the position but wasn't too concerned. He says there are guys who go up and get the ball, citing Cam Denson, who has a 36-inch vertical.

Spring practice is more serious now

The general consensus is that the everyone is completely focused in on this season. That was definitely the vibe that has been floating around on the defensive side of the ball, given the new staff overhaul, but even the offensive guys are saying that things are starting to get more serious.

"It's real intense," Grant said. "Rich Rodriguez isn't playing this year and no one is going to try him. Everyone is just more focused. After seeing our results last year, no matter how many players got hurt that was no excuse for our results last year. We all realized what being focused can do."

Jarvis McCall has moved to safety

This move makes sense, given the lack of depth that Rodriguez has mentioned at safety. McCall is a big body that Rodriguez craves at the safety position. My guess is that he sees most of his time at free safety, considering the fact that Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles will be moving to spur. This also opens up things for the corners and the two starting spots.

Middle linebacker still in the air

The loss of Scooby Wright, injuries to Jake Matthews and Cody Ippolito, leave the Arizona Wildcats bare at the middle linebacker spot when it comes to experience. There is no depth chart, but at the position chart for middle linebacker, Rodriguez mentioned Carrington Vaughn, John Kenny, Marquis Ware and Jamardre Cobb, among a few others.

Jahmile Addae after 6th spring practice

Dane Cruikshank talks spring practice impressions and redshirt season

I'll have more on Dane Cruikshank and where he falls in the cornerback rotation


Just some general observations here, as it's always interesting to see who stays after practice to work with their position groups and get extra reps.

  • Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles is a guy who is always one of the last to leave the field. He's been working a lot with Anthony Mariscal, coaching him up at that free safety spot. They were working with the jug machine and Demetrius has some nice hands. He's still only a sophomore and moving to that spur position will allow him to get his hands on some passes.
  • The tight ends are huge. I've never exactly stood next to Trevor Wood or Josh Kern, or even remotely close to them, but they walked past me and I was able to compare myself to them. They are much larger individuals than I ever expected, maybe because I've been used to standing next to smaller guys like Cam Denson, Orlando Bradford, Grant and Nate Phillips. Trevor Wood is listed at 6-5 261lbs and Josh Kern at 6-4 235lbs.
  • Antonio Parks wants to challenge Samajie Grant in some drills. Parks is a competitor and he's been wanting to line up against Samajie, who many corners I've talked to have said he's the hardest receiver to cover because of his strength, size, and route running. I'm expecting big things out of Antonio Parks throughout his career at Arizona and it's good to know he's ready to attack just one week into spring practice. When I spoke with Dane Cruikshank he said that he's still learning, but he's going to be a good one.
  • Brandon Dawkins looks a lot more confident. Just the way he interacts with Rod Smith, the players, and the way he goes about his drills, Dawkins seems a lot more comfortable. He knows he has a real shot at taking the starting job, and I'm a big supporter of Dawkins. Whether he wins the job or not, he's going to play at some point this season, as we haven't been able to count on Anu Solomon to complete an entire season through his first two years.