Offense dominates in UA football spring game
Fans get first taste what's to come under new head coach
Arizona football fans found themselves in unfamiliar territory Saturday as a new era for the program kicked off at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium.
A new head coach, new players and new tactics combined with a trip across town to make this one of the more unique games for the roughly 5,000 people who showed up.
Saturday's offense vs. defense scrimmage was the first chance that Wildcats fans have had to see what next season might look like under Rich Rodriguez.
Quarterback Matt Scott likely will be the most obvious change. Scott offers the team a different dimension because of his ability to run with the ball.
That running ability was not prominent in this game, though, as he was put out in a red jersey, indicating to the defense not to hit him, in an effort to avoid injury. Scott's passing was good, completing 22 of 35 for a total of 315 yards.
Sophomore receiver Tyler Slavin showed well with three touchdowns to his name. Junior Richard Morrison also showed his versatility by slotting in as quarterback for part of the game in addition to his more familiar role as wide receiver. Morrison ended the day with two touchdowns of his own. The Arizona offense ended up with 10 touchdowns and 597 yards total.
The fans also were pleased to see that attention is being paid to the Wildcats' kicking game. The team put eight of their nine field-goal attempts between the uprights.
Construction at Arizona Stadium meant the county facility was the venue used for Rodriguez's public unveiling.
The baseball park has played host to collegiate football once already this year when the college all-star game was held at Kino this January. The park also converted into a soccer pitch for Major League Soccer preseason in February and March.
The Spring Football Game involved much less retrofitting than the other events, as the dirt infield remained intact, minus the pitcher's mound. A gridiron was painted over the infield and outfield, but otherwise, the park reflected the needs of current tenants, the Tucson Padres.
The Arizona spring football game offered only a glimpse of what is to come under the new regime of Rodriguez. Wildcats supporters will have to wait until September to get a full picture of how things have changed from the Mike Stoops era.
UA opens the 2012 season at home against Toledo on Sept. 1. One week later we'll see what the Cats are made of when the Oklahoma State Cowboys ride into town. The Cowboys' last trip to Arizona was in January. They left as Fiesta Bowl champions.