Rodriguez pleased with team early in camp

2014-08-03T20:51:00Z 2014-08-21T13:02:10Z Rodriguez pleased with team early in campDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The UA went through its second practice of fall camp tonight. Unlike Saturday’s opener, reporters were only able to watch 20 minutes, and not the entire practice.

So I don’t have as many impressions to pass on, but there’s still plenty to talk about.

If you're looking for more on the Tra'Mayne Bondurant situation, read here

Here are some notable items to pass on from tonight:

• Coach Rich Rodriguez, who is usually difficult to please early in camp, liked the intensity he saw from his team during the second practice.

“The intensity was good for the second day in a row,” the coach said. “It usually dips. I thought the intensity at the end of practice today was better than yesterday, so that’s a positive.”

• Although it’s been just two days, Rodriguez is already liking what he’s seeing from his freshmen class: “I like our freshmen class. I think there’s some speed in there, and they’ll be competing for some playing time I can tell. I’d say about half of them will get a chance to play this year.”

• One freshman that already seems to be standing out is slot receiver Kaelin DeBoskie. He’s listed at just 5-6, 155, but his speed has already caught the eye of coaches.

The Salpointe product has the ability to return some punts, and like Rodriguez wants to do with T.J. Johnson, DaVonte Neal and Samajie Grant, he could get creative with how to get DeBoskie the ball.

Receivers coach Tony Dews expanded on what DeBoskie has been doing well so far: “He has great ball skills, he’s got great quickness and shiftiness. And I’m finding these first couple of days, he’s in my office everyday, spending extra time, trying to learn. He’s eager to learn football. He’s a competitor, too. The more of those types of kids you get, who cares about their size? If they’re willing to compete and learn, why redshirt them? If they can help you win, you get them all ready.”

Now Dews certainly isn’t saying DeBoskie will definitely play as a true freshman, but it sure looks like it’s a possibility.

• There were a couple of special teams notes I forgot to pass on from Saturday.

First, freshman Josh Pollack has a noticeably strong leg. The ball booms off his legs and he was easily making field goals from 30-plus yards on Sunday.

Rodriguez said after practice tonight he hadn’t really watched the kickers, but was planning on it tomorrow. He said Pollack is right in the middle of the competition with Casey Skowron and others.

Also, tight end Josh Kern, a former quarterback, was serving as the primary holder on field goals. Nick Isham, who transferred in the offseason, occupied that role last season.

• Receiver Clive Georges was in a yellow jersey tonight, which means he was a non-participant. Rodriguez said he suffered an injury Saturday and could be out a couple of weeks. Defensive tackle Dwight Melvin is also dealing with an injury and is sidelined for now.

• A lot has obviously been made about the depth and talent at receiver for Arizona. Something else Dews likes about the group? Diversity. He elaborated: “In a perfect world recruiting, if you get two guys, you want a 5-10 to 6-1 speed guy and a lengthy, big guy. When we got here we had guys like Austin (Hill), Dan (Buckner) and David (Richards), some big guys. Now it’s nice to have a combination of both because they can do so many things. It’s great to have both, and it will be good when we get those bigger guys playing in the slot, too. We had success with Austin because he’s a big kid lined up against linebackers and safeties. It helps.”

• Finally, Rodriguez said he’s encouraged with the depth that’s being developed on defense.

He said: “This year we’re deeper. We’re still not as deep as we want to be, but I can see us playing a whole lot more guys if we stay healthy on defense and that’ll help. We just have more bodies. It takes a lot of bodies to play defense in college football because of the schemes you see week-to-week. We want to get ready to play, but we have to keep our guys healthy. That’s why I scream about practicing smart. You have to keep your competiveness, but you have to practice smart, too.”

More coming 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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