Less than a week into fall football camp it is hard to tell a lot about the team, but stories and themes are starting to emerge.
So far Nick Foles has been sharp and it is obvious that Matt Scott is attempting to redshirt this season, allowing him to battle for the starting job as a fifth year starter in 2012. Bryson Beirne has been getting the bulk of the snaps with the second team, while Scott, the back-up in 2010, works with the scout team.
Keola Antolin and Daniel Jenkins are holding down the top two spots at running back and the real competition seems to be for the third running back job. Sophomore Kylan Butler has the edge early in camp, but walk-on Terris Jones and true freshman Ka’Deem Carey are getting their opportunities.
Heading into fall camp we knew the Arizona receiving corps was deep, but this appears top be the deepest the unit has ever been. Juron Criner is back with the team after attending to some personal matters over the summer. He does not appear 100% in shape, but is still making plays. Once he improves his conditioning, watch out.
Newcomer Dan Buckner, the Texas transfer, appears as good as advertised, while Tyler Slavin has made play after play.
Terrence Miller has been a go-to guy during 2:00 drills and he gives the Cats yet another big target.
All eyes are on the offensive line and so far, so good. The starting five of Mickey Baucus, Fabbians Ebelle, Chris Putton, Trace Biskin and Kyle Quinn have been solid and early on have fended off challenges from second teamers.
The biggest news among the line is the addition of Jack Baucus, who moves from tight end to tackle.
Another position of interest has been the defensive ends who have to replace three players drafted by the NFL. So far Muhammed Usman and C.J. Parish have been very good and true freshmen Reggie Gilbert and Dame Ndiaye have shown that the future at the position seems very bright.
Junior college transfer David Lopez will start alongside Paul Vassallo and Derek Earls when the Cats go with their 4-3 base defense, but all indications are that the Wildcats will spend a lot of time in their nickel and dime packages.
So far the defensive backs have also played well. Shaq Richardson and Jonathan McKnight are in a real battle to start opposite of senior Trevin Wasde and Derrick Rainey is also showing well at corner.
There is less competition at safety where Rob Golden and Marquis Flowers have their jobs all but sewn up.
Alex Zendejas and Jaime Salazar are in a duel for the place kicking job. Many assumed that after last year’s disasterous finish that Zendejas would be out of a job, but he worked hard over the summer and the job probably won’t be decided early in camp.
So far the Wildcats have remained relatively injury free, which is especially good news after all of the injuries during spring ball. Two of those injured players, linebacker Jake Fischer and safety Adam Hall, appear to be ahead of schedule and may have a tough decision to make about whether to play this year or use a redshirt.