Isaiah Taylor performs a drill during the first practice of Arizona’s spring football on March 14, 2023.

The Arizona Wildcats conducted their first spring practice Tuesday at the Cole and Jeannie Davis Sports Center and Dick Tomey Practice Fields. Here are notes and takeaways from the UA's first day day of spring ball: 

* The Wildcats were not in full pads, but wore helmets, jerseys and pants. Arizona converted last season's Desert Swarm-style game uniforms into practice uniforms. 

* Quarterback Jayden de Laura weighed in at 211 pounds, nearly a 30-pound difference from his weight during spring ball last year. De Laura weighed 182 pounds when he first arrived to Tucson last spring. 

* De Laura had a 20-yard run for a first down during a team segment. 

* Second-year quarterback Noah Fifita was the second quarterback to participate in drills, while freshman and former four-star recruit Brayden Dorman was third. Fifita had an impressive Patrick Mahomes-esque sidearm throw to receiver Chris Hunter


Arizona quarterback Noah Fifita warms up during the Wildcats' first spring football practice Tuesday afternoon at the Dick Tomey Practice Fields.

* Fifita was intercepted by sophomore Ephesians Prysock during a 7-on-7 drill. 

* Redshirt sophomore safety Isaiah Taylor, who made the game-sealing interception in the Territorial Cup win last season, recorded an interception in a one-on-one drill with star receiver Jacob Cowing

* Arizona's first offensive line group during individual drills and team offense featured left tackle Sam Langi, left guard Wendell Moe, center Josh Baker, right guard Jonah Savaiinaea and right tackle Joseph Borjon

* Cowing had crisp footwork in drills. In a one-on-one matchup with cornerback Isaiah Rutherford, Cowing ran a curl route and earned about 5 or 6 yards of separation before bolting for a touchdown.

* Arizona's first defensive unit for team drills included Rutherford, Prysock, nickelback Treydan Stukes, safeties Taylor and redshirt sophomore Dalton Johnson, linebackers Jacob Manu and Oregon transfer Justin Flowe, edge rusher and Cal transfer Orin Patu, Georgia transfer defensive tackle Bill Norton, sophomore defensive linemen Ta'ita'i Uiagalelei and Russell Davis II

* The second batch of defensive backs included cornerbacks Jay-Ayviauynn Celestine and Tacario Davis, nickelback Gunner Maldonado and safeties DJ Warnell and freshman Gavin Hunter from Hawaii. 

* Tight end Tanner McLachlan is listed at the same weight from the 2022 season, but appears to have packed on more muscle since the end of last season. 

* New defensive backs coach and longtime Desert Swarm-era assistant Duane Akina was among the loudest voices on the field Tuesday. The fiery Akina mostly worked alongside Chuck Cecil with Arizona's safeties. 

* Freshman safety and former Chandler Hamilton star Genesis Smith's 6-2 frame, jersey number (12) and hair are akin to former UA star safety Adam Hall, who played under Mike Stoops

* Kyle Ostendorp and Arizona's punters practiced their accuracy by punting tennis balls towards the end of practice. 

* Former Arizona tight end Stacey Marshall, who transferred to his namesake Marshall last season, was in attendance for practice. Marshall will have his pro day leading up to the NFL draft next week at Marshall. 

* Former UA edge rusher Hunter Echols, whose pro day is on Thursday at Arizona Stadium, was also in attendance for Tuesday's practice.

Arizona head coach Jedd Fisch discusses the impact that the newest defensive transfers bring to the team at Arizona Stadium on Mar. 3, 2023. Video by Aidan Wohl / Special to the Arizona Daily Star.

Contact sports producer Justin Spears at jspears@tucson.com. On Twitter: @JustinESports

Originally published on tucson.com, part of the BLOX Digital Content Exchange.


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