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August 25, 2012

Flowers moves to linebacker



While Friday night's scrimmage at Arizona Stadium was not going to show anybody much compared to the past sessions in fall camp, it did shed some light on what the Arizona football team may look like by the Sept. 1 season opener.

The biggest change of all, with the Week 1 home contest against Toledo now exactly a week away, was the position change that moved Marquis Flowers from the "spur" position to outside linebacker. Flowers lined up alongside Jake Fischer, who was in the middle, and Hank Hobson, who is now healthy again.

First-year head coach Rich Rodriguez said the move was done out of need.

"We've gotten faster moving Marquis there," Rodriguez said.

"He was willing to do that. Marquis is a team guy and he loves football. I'm excited to watch him there. We need a lot of things - we need to get faster and bigger on defense, and he certainly makes us faster when we move him."

The move also allows the Wildcats to play what Rodriguez calls "two of our best 11, defensively." Flowers had been playing with the first unit as the "spur" for most of fall camp, leaving one of the team's better playmakers, Tra'Mayne Bondurant, on the second unit.

Although Bondurant was expected to find his way on the field, this now allows Rodriguez to start the 5-10, 207-pounder in that hybrid safety/linebacker position.

"We want to get them both on the field," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez joked that Flowers is now "living large" with the move, if only because now the junior gets to perform his conditioning runs with his new position group instead of the rest of the secondary.

"He's making all his times easy, so I think that's a fun byproduct for him," Rodriguez said.

Wildcats cornerback Shaquille Richardson liked the move for Flowers.

"He's just big and physical, and he's fast," Richardson said afterward. "I joke around with him about it, but I think it's best for the team and him."

Flowers was not made available for comment Friday.

Other notable observations

-Fabbians Ebbele opened at right tackle, while Lene Maiava played with the second unit. Both players were battling for the starting job throughout camp.

-It was a no-tackling session between blue and white jerseys, and the latter signaled that those players were on the scout team. One of the more surprising developments was that freshman linebacker C.J. Dozier was with the scout team.

Dozier enrolled earlier than any member of the 2012 class, arriving for the spring semester with the advantage of learning the 3-3-5 odd stack defense earlier than the rest of his classmates on defense.

-Before the start, Rodriguez told reporters that about 10 to 12 freshman could see the field this season, and "three or four of them are walk-ons." Some may not play immediately, Rodriguez added, but could eventually emerge about two to three weeks into the season.

An official depth chart has yet to be released, but Rodriguez said the team should at least be "closer" to a two-deep depth chart early next week.

"Two-deep assumes that we have two-deep, right?" Rodriguez joked.

-The scrimmage was more about getting the players ready for a gameday atmosphere, and that included the presence of the band, cheerleaders, members of the ZonaZoo student section and the use of the stadium PA system.

The players even sat on the team bench as if it were an actual contest, as the benches were marked with cards that had each position group.

Tracy McDannaldTracy McDannald
GOAZCATS.com Senior Editor

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