KELLY: One small sample size of Arizona Football - Tucson News Now

KELLY: One small sample size of Arizona Football

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

I attended exactly one Arizona Football spring practice this year.

That's about par for the course for me. I spend so much time watching the Wildcats during the "real" season that I really have very little interest it what goes on during the spring. It's a nice diversion on a day when I have absolutely nothing else to do but for me spring is time to devote to other Wildcat sports like the Baseball and Softball, maybe some tennis or interview the swim team.

I will attend the Spring Game on Saturday with interest because it will be full pads and there might be some serious hitting.

Although my theory is that all serious hitting ceased two years ago when former UA safety Adam Hall was blowing up receivers left and right and then promptly blew up his knee ending his career on University and Park.

I did pick up on some things though during my one 20-minute viewing session with the Wildcats.

With no Ka'deem Carey it is quite clear that head coach Rich Rodriguez is going to give the ball to whoever has the talent to run with it in the open field, with speed.

Remember the Mike Stoops days of the occasional Jet Sweeps with the ball in the hands of the likes of Mike Thomas, Terrell Turner and Delashaun Dean. Those appear to be on the way back.

Did you know that the Wildcats had exactly 12 rushing yards from the wide receiver position last season?


The Wildcats might not have a ton of experience at running back but they have a whole lot of talent at the wide receiver position. Rodriguez said he expects to use as many as eight guys this season.

When you have speedy guys like Nate Phillips, Samajie Grant and especially Davonte Neal. Not to mention incoming freshman Cam Denson. You had better find any way you can to get those guys the football.

UA tight ends coach Charley Ragle at Chaparral routinely lined up in the no pun intended here, "Wildcat" and directly snapped the ball to Neal allowing him to essentially work as a running back and gain miles of yardage.

Dennis Bene did the same at Salpointe Catholic with Denson on the occasions he had to sub in as quarterback.

Make sense to me; wide receivers running the football; speed in the opening field.

The other thing that stood out to me was the quarterback play. Again VERY small sample size but what I saw was a handle of the offense and a confidence that at times in the past you didn't see.

And it wasn't just one guy. It was pretty much everybody.

Now that Javelle Allen is gone we can talk honestly about him. Not ONE time did I ever say to myself? "That's the guy. Javelle Allen. If he's handed the keys he can do it."

Not one time. In fact it was quite the contrary.

I said to myself, "If they have to hand the offense to him, they're in trouble."

I thought all the quarterbacks looked like they had a command of what they were doing; from Connor Brewer to Jerrard Randle to Jesse Scroggins to Nick Isham, Anu Solomon and Khari McGee.

I did not see a lot of mistakes from any of them. Again. Small sample size but that's what I saw in the allowed 20 minutes of viewing that we are given to watch the team perform.

Who's going to be the quarterback? Who knows? My guess with the lack of experienced running back the preference would be someone who can run a bit like B.J. Denker.

My preference would be a traditional guy who can stand in the pocket and sling it. But I don't see a ton of those types on this roster. In fact I don't see any.

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