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August 18, 2012
A week removed from a lopsided affair between the Arizona offense and defense that left its head coach puzzled about the lack of tackling and yearning for a "sense of urgency," among other things, the team responded with a slightly more competitive outcome Saturday afternoon at Arizona Stadium.
Or, at least, if the statistics produced by Arizona communication services and the coaches' custom scoring system that arbitrarily hands out points for "big plays" mean anything.
In a scrimmage closed to the media and public aside from 2,000 members of the Wildcat Club, the defense pulled out a 50-49 victory in a scripted, 95-play session.
But there is still a ways to go to please first-year head coach Rich Rodriguez.
"There were a lot of great plays out here today," Rodriguez told his team, according to the release. "But we didn't have as much enthusiasm as I thought we would. This is a great stadium, a great playing surface and we want you to have fun out here. We start getting into 'game-week' from now on."
The offense, which appeared to have a solid balance in the passing and running game throughout the fall, produced 628 yards and seven touchdowns.
Quarterback Matt Scott, who has passed with precision dating back to the spring, completed 11 of 14 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns. Backup B.J. Denker was not as sharp, connecting on just 11 of 30 throws for 172 yards.
Meanwhile, third-string freshman Javelle Allen completed just 4 of 7 passes but averaged 43 yards per completion en route to 172 yards and a touchdown. To be fair, the 6-2, 226-pound signal caller has typically played against a unit composed mostly of walk-ons and freshmen leading up to the scrimmage this fall.
The stable of UA running backs combined for 179 yards on the ground, including a team-leading 38 on eight carries by Kylan Butler. He also was one of four players to rush for a score along with Ka'Deem Carey, J.T. Washington and receiver Richard Morrison, who took his lone carry 25 yards.
Slot receiver Sean Willet led all receivers with five catches for 113 yards and a touchdown. Morrison (three catches, 54 yards) and freshman Clive Georges (one catch, 36 yards) also reached the end zone.
Of the 59 passing attempts, the defense, which played without a number of key personnel, was credited with just one broken up pass thanks to freshman defensive back Jamar Allah and an interception by safety Vince Miles. Sophomore cornerback Jourdon Grandon added a forced fumble while saftey Blake Brady and lineman Chris Merrill scooped up fumble recoveries.
Seven of the Wildcats' tackles for a loss were sacks, including one from fullback-turned-defensive end specialist Taimi Tutogi.
But, according to the release, there were still a handful of breakdowns in coverage such as Willet's 54-yard score in which he slipped behind the entire defense.
"We have to get better at what we can control," Rodriguez said. "The one thing we can always control is our execution, and that has to be the focus starting tomorrow."
The Wildcats will have a meet-and-greet autograph session Sunday at McKale Center. After the UA newcomers complete their first media opportunities with local reporters, the 30-minute program/question-and-answer portion will start at noon and the team will start signing autographs at 12:30 p.m.
A limited supply of free Arizona football schedule posters also will be available. Doors at the south entrance closest to the McKale ticket office open at 11 a.m.
The team will open the regular season Sept. 1 at home against Toledo. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.