Arizona Wildcats spring football practice No. 8: RB Stevie Rocker Jr. ‘just scratching the surface’

Stevie Rocker Jr.

Michael Lev Arizona Daily Star

The Arizona Wildcats conducted their eighth practice of spring camp Thursday. The team worked without pads ahead of Saturday’s scrimmage. Here are some notes and takeaways from the workout and post-practice media session:

* After struggling for a good chunk of practice, the offense found a rhythm late, especially on the ground. Several running backs were able to break into the clear.

* QB Will Plummer followed that same pattern, as he started to look more comfortable late in practice. But he was victimized on a sideline throw by cornerback Christian Roland-Wallace, who undercut the pass for a leaping interception.

Gunner Cruz’s best pass of the day came on a deep crossing route to Brian Casteel, who extended to snag the ball on the run.

* Coach Jedd Fisch on freshman RB Stevie Rocker Jr., who had several strong runs and made an acrobatic sideline catch: “I couldn’t be more impressed with Stevie Rocker the way he’s gone out here. The guy should really be getting ready for his prom, if they’re having those this year, and graduation. He’s not 18 yet. He turns 18 In May. So the fact that he’s not even 18 yet, and the fact that he’s playing like he’s playing and participating in every practice, every opportunity to get better, you can’t ask for more. There’s a ton of upside there, and I think we’re just scratching the surface with Stevie.”

* Offensive lineman Donovan Laie and tailback Michael Wiley returned to limited duty after missing the past several practices. Both worked with the first-team offense during the walk-through phase.

* Safety Isaiah Mays, who has been limited, played with the second-team defense in 11-on-11 drills during the non-tackling practice.

* Defensive tackle Trevon Mason was among the players who did not participate.

* The team worked on punt and kickoff returns for the first time. Tayvian Cunningham and Jamarye Joiner were the primary punt returners. Cunningham, Drake Anderson and Brian Casteel were the kickoff returners.

* Members of the UA softball and women’s basketball teams attended practice. They included Dejah Mulipola (softball) and Sam Thomas (basketball).

Steve Kerr and Pete Carroll spoke to the team via Zoom on Wednesday. We’ll have more on those special guests in a bit.