Maybe it was a Will Ferrell hangover, but the morning practice was not a good one. After getting the night off from practice to relax and take in a movie, the Cats returned to the field for an early morning practice.
The Cats were off a little bit and the coaches responded with some criticism. Most of the practice was solid but the coaches were in no mood for mistakes or lackadaisical play.
The offense and defense went back and forth most of the morning. Michael Klyce intercepted Adam Austin but Willie Tuitama hit Earl Mitchell and Anthony Johnson for long gains.
The night practice was much sharper. There was a lot less mistakes and the coaches seemed far more pleased with the team’s performance.
The team seemed a little relaxed at times, especially during special teams drills when a handful of defensive linemen were allowed to field kicks in a kickoff drill.
There were several big plays during the 7-on-7 drills. Travis Bell had two big catches, both over the middle. The tight end probably would have paid the price in a real game, but with no contact he was able to show off his great hands.
Syndric Steptoe got behind Michael Turner and Tuitama threw a perfect strike down the left sideline, hitting Steptoe in stride. Johnson also had a nice grab for a long gain in the drive.
The team session was very spirited. The defense huddled up before they took the field and repeatedly chanted “we ready!”
Tuitama and Mike Thomas started the drills by connecting on a short, but tough out pattern. Tuitama threw the ball before Thomas broke for the sideline and the ball was there perfectly for Thomas at the sideline.
Louis Holmes showed impressive speed when he matched Travis Bell stride for stride downfield on one play.
Glyndon Bolasky had two nice runs and the freshman is really making a case for playing time. He has gained speed since his senior season at Sabino and is learning some nice misdirection moves.
Tuitama has kept the ball away from the defense for most of fall camp but he and a receiver were not on the same page and a throw over the middle was nowhere near an offensive player but landed in the arms of Dominic Patrick.
Mitchell was used again in passing situations and the big blocking back responded with nice catches. Mike Stoops had high praise for the freshman, comparing his work ethic and attitude to former Oklahoma All-American Tommy Harris.
Brandyn McCall was dinged up in the morning session, so A.J. Simmons got the most reps he had seen all camp long.
It was almost unfair when Mike Thomas lined up against walk-on defensive back Jared Mosley. Thomas put a nasty move on Mosley and was five yards past him when Tuitama dropped a perfect pass into his arms.
That play got a lot of reaction from the team, but not as much when Victor Yates finally got in to play. The walk-on from Palo Verde high school has become a popular player among his teammates and is one of the most talkative players on the team. He ran onto the field and his defensive teammates hollered in approval.
The ball never came Yates’ way until the end of practice when he successfully covered Eric Sheehan. A pass came there was but was overthrown, but by the reaction of his teammates you’d have thought that Yates had made a game winning stop.