Arizona Wildcats football: Observations and notes from the spring game

2014-04-12T20:15:00Z Arizona Wildcats football: Observations and notes from the spring gameDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Some notes and observations from Saturday's Arizona spring game, won by the offense 57-38.

• Wide receiver/running back T.J. Johnson didn't play Saturday because of a sprained ankle. The mid-year enrollee, who is expected to get plenty of touches throughout the season, injured his ankle on Friday — get this — getting out of bed. He stepped on something and twisted it awkwardly. Rodriguez said he'll be fine and it isn't a long term issue. The coach said he was disappointed for Johnson, who was looking forward to playing in front of fans.

• The starting defense looked like this: Defensive line: Reggie Gilbert (end), Dwight Melvin (nose) and Dan Pettinato (end). Linebackers: Keoni Bush-Loo and DeAndre Miller (outside) and Scooby Wright (middle). Secondary: Jonathan McKnight and Devin Holiday (cornerbacks) and Jourdon Grandon, Tra'Mayne Bondurant and Jared Tevis (safeties). Of course, the starting lineup could and will change before the season. But Saturday at least provided a glimpse as to what the coaches are thinking at the moment.

• The starting offense was: Jesse Scroggins (quarterback), Terris Jones-Grigsby (running back), Trey Griffey, Samajie Grant, Austin Hill and DaVonte Neal (wide receivers) and Mickey Baucus, Cayman Bundage, Steven Gurrola, Jacob Alsadek and Fabbians Ebbele (offensive line). Again, I wouldn't read too much into that lineup. Cayleb Jones and Nate Phillips will certainly work their way into the picture at wide receiver and Jones-Grigsby at running back is certainly not etched in stone. 

• Scroggins got the most work with the first-team offense of any of the quarterbacks. His stats — 3 for 8 for 57 yards with a touchdown and an interception — weren't overly impressive, but he looked solid for the most part. The senior-to-be seemed to help himself the most out of any of the quarterbacks this spring. If he continues to show his newfound dedication to the weight room and film room, he'll remain in the mix in the fall. 

He's certainly gained the attention of his teammates: "He's a leader, he's older, he knows the system and he's very confident," Jones said. 

• As for the other quarterbacks, Anu Solomon also had a strong spring and seems to be progressing and getting better. It's important to remember this was his first spring and he still has a lot of room for improvement. He had some really good days in practice and others where he struggled. But like Scroggins, he'll remain in the mix in the fall with a strong summer. 

"I think he redshirted last fall and he had a redshirt mentality, which is he will start competing for the fall in the spring," Rodriguez said. "That's not really what you want our guys to do, but he's squarely in the mix, and hopefully that motivates him to have a good summer."

Jerrard Randall and Connor Brewer are also still in the competition, without a doubt. 

• Samajie Grant got one series at running back during Saturday's game. He had one carry for three yards. Grant, Neal and Johnson will all see time at running back and wide receiver in fall camp.

• Here are the full offensive stats from the game:

Quarterbacks: Solomon: 4-8, 74 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs. Four carries for 10 yards. Brewer: 8-12, 71 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs. Two carries for 22 yards. Scroggins: 3-8, 57 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT. Six carries for 37 yards. Randall: 4-6, 31 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs. Three carries, 24 yards. Nick Isham: 2-4, 20 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs. One carry, nine yards. Khari McGee: 1-1, six yards. Two carries, eight yards.

Running backs: Jones-Grigsby: 6-62, 1 TD; Pierre Cormier 6-28, 0 TDs; Zach Green 5-5, 1 TD; Grant 1-3, 0 TDs.

Wide receivers: Abraham Mendivil: 4-51, 2 TDs; Neal 1-44, 1 TD; Jones 2-36, 1 TD; Clive Georges 4-35, 0 TDs; David Richards 3-23, 0 TDs; Johnny Jackson 1-19, 1 TD; Josh Kern 1-18, 0 TDs; Trey Griffey 1-14, 0 TDs; Grant 2-13, 0 TDs; Cormier 1-13, 0 TDs; Green 1-2, 0 TDs; Drake Pierre 1-1, 0 TDs.

• Defensively, as we wrote this week, DeAndre Miller seems to really have helped himself this spring. The linebacker, who was forced to play last season on special teams as a true freshman, is very much in the mix for a starting spot at one of the two outside linebacker spots. Miller was productive again on Saturday and seemed to be comfortable working next to Scooby Wright. 

Speaking of Wright, he said he played almost exclusively at middle linebacker this spring after playing on the outside almost all of last season. I wouldn't be surprised if he stays in there in the fall, but he's proven he's capable of playing all three spots. 

• The announced attendance was 7,100. Rodriguez called it a "good crowd." He's hopeful the size of the crowd will continue to build in future years.

"I appreciate the crowd that was here, but I'd like to have at least half this place filled every spring game," Rodriguez said. "The weather is going to be nice and there are a lot of things surrounding it. We'll keep working until it happens."

• That's all for now. I'll pass on some more quotes and notes tomorrow. Thanks for reading. 

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About this blog

Daniel Berk began covering UA football in 2013 after spending two-plus years as the Star's high school sports coordinator. Previously, he served as the sports editor and NAU beat writer for the Arizona Daily Sun in Flagstaff for three years.

A University of Kansas graduate and St. Louis native, Berk is still getting used to 350 days of sunshine, the relentless "dry heat" of the summer and the fact that Tucson doesn't have a real hockey rink.

Contact Daniel at dberk@azstarnet.com or by calling 573-4330. Follow him on Twitter @DSBerk.

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