The Arizona Wildcats broke spring camp Saturday eager to embark on a summer filled with … more football.
There's no such thing as an off-season anymore. For the next three months, the Wildcats will lift, run, train, throw and catch with their eyes on improvement.
NCAA rules forbid coach Mike Stoops and his assistants from monitoring the voluntary workouts, but he has made the team's priorities clear.
The UA's run game must continue to evolve, its defense must be more consistent, and perhaps most importantly, its special teams must find a swagger after a sluggish finish to the 2010 season.
There was plenty to like in Saturday's spring game, Stoops said:
• The Wildcats racked up 462 yards and scored four touchdowns against a defense that was playing without defensive tackle Justin Washington (off-season shoulder surgery) and safety Adam Hall (torn ACL).
• Marquis Flowers, playing the nickelback position, finished with a team-high four tackles and broke up two passes.
• Newcomer Kyle Dugandzic boomed his only punt of the day for 72 yards.
"Overall, I thought it was a pretty good day," Stoops said. "The strength of this football team lies, offensively, with our quarterbacks and receivers. I feel like we have a great group of skill guys."
We asked four Wildcats what they'll be working on between now and the start of training camp. Here's what they said:
Place-kicker Alex Zendejas: "Everything - consistency, being a little quicker, range, all that. It's good that we're all here for the summer - me, the snapper and the holder. We're not where we want to be right now, but that comes with time."
Linebacker Paul Vassallo: "We can't take a day for granted right now. We played well all spring, but we didn't have our best showing (Saturday). Get better and get more cohesive as a unit; make sure we communicate. We've got to clean it up."
Offensive tackle Fabbians Ebbele: "It's a nonstop thing. We need to keep working to get better and better all the time. Communication, footwork, knowing plays, remembering plays. … I'm proud of how we've done. We've come from not doing too good to where we should be. We're making strides every week and every day."
Quarterback Nick Foles: "Continuing to grow together as a group. We have young guys, so developing the young guys, timing on routes, working on routes. So much of college football is recognizing coverages and knowing how to run the routes. That's going to go with film work, too. Doing things, throwing together like we always do."