More than five years after leaving the UA for an NFL career, Earl Mitchell returns to campus...
Passing Highlights UA Football Spring Game
About 5,000 people came to Kino Stadium to watch the Wildcats play in their first Spring Game of the Rich Rodriguez era.
The team ran 98 plays in the two-hour workout at local Kino Stadium, the Tucson Padres' baseball park, and also had a number of kicking efforts including an eight-for-nine day on field goals by various kickers. About 5,000 people came out to see the game.
Rodriguez put his defense on its heels with short-field situations much of the time in the scrimmage, and the Cats' offense came through with 10 touchdowns and 597 yards in total offense.
Senior Scott led the way with 315 yards passing on 22-for-35 throwing to post a 176.17 pass efficiency rating. Three other quarterbacks – Richard Morrison, Tyler D'Amore and Alex Cappellini – contributed to a team total of 35 of 55 tosses for 445 yards. Morrison and Cappellini also threw scoring passes.
Sophomore receiver Tyler Slavin caught three touchdown passes while sometime quarterback Morrison and potential starting slot receiver Morrison had two scoring catches. Dan Buckner had the sixth. Morrison, Johnny Jackson and Slavin led with five catches apiece.
Taimi Tutogi led all rushers with 41 yards on two totes, thanks to a bruising 34-yard run. Daniel Jenkins had a 5-30 effort and a score, while Ka'Deem Carey (4-22), Kylan Butler (8-18) and Jared Baker (3-12) also had touchdown runs.
Junior linebacker Jake Fischer, who missed 2011 with a knee injury, tied for the team high with six tackles, matched by defensives back Tra'Mayne Bondurant and Jared Tevis. Defensive tackles Willie Mobley had solo sacks while Fischer and Tevin Hood shared another. Safety Marquis Flowers had the lone interception (off a Morrison throw), while Fischer also led with two passes defended. Bondurant forced a fumble.
The Cats' offense converted 10 of 20 third-down situations and two of seven on fourth down. The scrimmage included a number of overtime-style possessions starting at the defense's 25 yard-line and a handful of 4th-and-goal tries from the 5 yard-line.
Rodriguez did not tip his hat in terms of live special teams' coverage, a matter of considerable focus in the 13 practices leading up to the spring game.
The Cats will get a final workout in shorts today before re-focusing their efforts in the weight room and voluntary conditioning before fall reporting date.