Arizona football: 5 of 1st 8 on road for Cats in 2013

Former UA offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes recently took over as coach at Cal. The Wildcats will face the Golden Bears on Nov. 2.

Vaughn Dotsy cuts an imposing silhouette with each early-morning lap he takes around the Rincon Vista practice facility.

Call him, with apologies to James Taylor, the walking man.

The Arizona Wildcats 6-foot-5-inch, 370-pound guard will spend the early part of training camp recovering from off-season back surgery. Getting back into playing shape, he said, is "a slow process."

Dotsy has spent the last week of camp walking - whether it's around the practice field or on a StairMaster inside the weight room - with a goal of becoming both more limber and lighter.

Dotsy, 20, is hoping to be cleared for full-contact drills sometime in the next few weeks. The Wildcats open their season Sept. 3 at Toledo.

"Eventually, I'm going to be 100 percent," he said. "I'm getting there."

Dotsy underwent a microdiscectomy, the same surgery that cost former tight end Rob Gronkowski the entire 2009 season, in March. Doctors removed part of a ruptured disc from his back, releasing pressure on his sciatic nerve and easing the pain that ran down both his legs.

Dotsy suffered the injury on the first series of the Wildcats' 33-0 Holiday Bowl loss to Nebraska. The surgery caused him to miss all of spring drills. He was replaced by senior Jovon Hayes, who continues to practice with the first-string offense in training camp.

Dotsy spent the spring and summer trying to get back into playing shape.

Though Dotsy is as strong as he was a year ago, when he played 10 games at right guard, he must improve his conditioning. Coaches would like to see Dotsy lose another 15 or 20 pounds, getting him closer to his listed weight of 335 pounds.

Size has always been an issue for the Ventura, Calif., native.

Dotsy weighed 335 pounds when he committed to the UA as a senior at St. Bonaventure High School but ballooned to 375 pounds following his first college season. The guard dropped 46 pounds between his freshman and sophomore years by cutting out fast food, eating earlier meals and climbing stairs.

The weight came back this spring, in part because Dotsy - slowed by the surgery - was unable to work out. At his heaviest, Dotsy said he weighed 382 pounds.

The engaging, outgoing Dotsy said he "hated" sitting around the house.

"With my body type, if I sit around and do nothing, weight automatically starts piling on me," he said. "I'd like to think that, as an upperclassman, part of that weight is muscle. I'm getting my manly girth."

With that, Dotsy laughs. In reality, though, his ability to shed weight may determine whether he plays at all this fall.

Co-offensive coordinator Bill Bedenbaugh said Dotsy could slide back into the Cats' rotation once he's cleared. He already has the Wildcats offense - and his blocking assignments - committed to memory.

For now, though, Dotsy's first step is getting back on the football field.

"He's a smart guy," Bedenbaugh said. "He just has to get in shape."

Extra points

• Travis Feeney, a safety from Pinole Valley (Calif.) High School, verbally committed to the UA's 2011 recruiting class Tuesday. The recruiting service has yet to rate the 6-3, 200-pound Feeney; Arizona was the first school to offer him a scholarship.

• Defensive end Ricky Elmore has been a preseason candidate for the Ted Hendricks Award, given annually to the nation's top defensive end.

On StarNet: Follow the Cats on Ryan Finley's blog:

Offense dominates in Cats' first scrimmage

Nick Foles threw for 206 yards and three touchdowns, sparking the Arizona Wildcats offense to a dominant performance in Tuesday's scrimmage at the Jimenez Practice Facility.

The Wildcats gained 446 yards on 50 plays - an 8.9-yards-per-play average - during the hour-long workout on campus. The UA gained 26 first downs and scored three touchdowns while turning the ball over twice.

Coach Mike Stoops said it was "good to see our players do some live, situational stuff at game speed" but conceded the team struggled defensively.

"We've got some new guys," he said, "but we've got to get better."

Foles led the UA's attack, completing 17 of 24 passes and connecting with Bug Wright, Travis Cobb and Gino Crump for scores. Crump caught four passes for a team-high 68 yards. David Douglas and Cobb each caught three balls.

Arizona split its carries among seven runners - Greg Nwoko, Nicolas Grigsby, Keola Antolin, Daniel Jenkins, Garic Wharton, Terris Jones and Kylan Butler. Nwoko led the team with 34 rushing yards on four carries, and Grigsby gained 29 on four carries. Foles said the scrimmage was a good starting point.

"We have to keep on improving," he said. "There's work to be done. There are guys doing wrong things, but there are also a lot of great things happening. It's exciting to see at the first scrimmage of the year."

There were few defensive highlights.

Cornerback Trevin Wade intercepted a Matt Scott pass, and Adam Hall - a Palo Verde High School grad pushing for playing time at safety - recovered a fumble. Brooks Reed and Sione Tuihalamaka each had sacks, and Mike Turner, Josh Robbins and Marcus Benjamin broke up passes.

Arizona will take this morning off before departing for camp at Fort Huachuca. The Wildcats will hold a two-a-day on the Army installation Thursday.

Ryan Finley


Practices at Fort Huachuca and in Sierra Vista are open to the public.

• Thursday: 7:30-9:30 a.m., 6:15-8:15 p.m.

• Friday: 8-10 a.m.

• Saturday: 8:30-10:30 a.m., 4:30 p.m. scrimmage at Sierra Vista Buena High School