Arizona football: Rounding up some random notesby Anthony Gimino on Aug. 25, 2010, under Sports
It’s desperate times around the Arizona football program. And we’re not even talking about the state of the defense.
When Saturday’s scrimmage was cut short by lightning, the Meet the Team part of the evening was canceled, which meant a usually generous time for media interviews was reduced to about 10 minutes.
There was no media availability Sunday, none Monday, and, as it turns out, none Tuesday because practice was canceled after storms rolled through Tucson.
What I’m trying to say is that we’re running low on stories.
Sure, most of us plan ahead, but only brief access to the team in the past four days has whittled the inventory of features, themes and ways to say that the defense is still a work in progress.
It’s not just me. Ryan Finley’s story in Wednesday’s Arizona Daily Star about quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo was from an interview that took place, I believe, last Thursday. I used part of that interview for a story at FoxSportsArizona.com last Friday.
Anyway, with any luck, the team will practice Wednesday and we’ll all get fresh sound bites and story ideas afterward. In the meantime, let me shake out the notebooks and see what falls out:
It was relatively interesting that junior receiver Gino Crump, who emerged in the spring, was not on the two-deep depth chart released last week. I asked outside receivers coach Dave Nichol about Crump’s progress last week.
“Just up and down,” Nichol said. “Gino is a guy who is going to make plays. Right now, he’s a guy who is going to make plays for both teams, and we have to cut that out. He has to make plays for us and not bust. Consistency. It sounds boring, but that is what he has to do.”
Coach Mike Stoops has said the quarterbacks and the running backs are the strength of the offense, but I like what quarterback Nick Foles had to say about that:
“Whenever anybody asks me about the offense, I say the strength is the line.”
I asked Nichol to shift his perspective a bit and give us a read on what he sees with the progress of backup quarterback Matt Scott.
“Just a lot more confidence,” Nichol said.
“A lot of times, the third year in the program is when it clicks for guys. And that’s where Matt is. Our system is not easy for a quarterback. … He has complete understanding of everything that is going on. That’s my opinion.”
Looking for a breakout player? Let me submit redshirt freshman guard Chris Putton.
With starting guards Vaughn Dotsy (back) and Conan Amituanai (knee) out or limited during fall camp, Putton seems to have ample opportunity for playing time in the Sept. 3 opener at Toledo.
If nothing else, Putton is part of the next wave of young Arizona offensive linemen who will have to be ready no later than the 2011 season. Coaches have talked about having one true freshman ready this season along the line. For what it’s worth, Trent Spurgeon was the second-string left tackle during Saturday’s abbreviated scrimmage.
New secondary coach Greg Brown has walked into a good situation, with an all-star candidate in junior cornerback Trevin Wade and young talent that includes sophomore safety Adam Hall, freshman safety Marquis Flowers, freshman corner Shaquille Richardson and freshman cornerback Jonathan McKnight.
Asked specifically about Flowers and Richardson, Brown said:
“Mentally, you’re asked to do so many more things that you never would have dreamed possible in high school. It’s like you’re riding a 10-speed bike on a highway and everybody else is going 70 mph in a car.”
Bad election news last night for former Arizona All-American safety Tony Bouie. He was running in the Republican primary for state senator in District 4, but finished last in a three-way race. It is the second political defeat for Bouie, who ran for state representative in District 6 in 2008.
According to the Arizona Athletics Facebook page, the coaches’ game-day locations will look like this:
Co-defensive coordinator Tim Kish, co-offensive coordinator Seth Littrell, quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo and the two grad assistants will be in the press box.
Everybody else, including co-defensive coordinator Greg Brown and co-offensive coordinator Bill Bedenbaugh, will be on the sideline.