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Will Kovalcheck cure ‘Cats’ offensive woes?

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TUCSON, Ariz. — Arizona, which plays Utah on Sept. 2, opened its preseason training camp Thursday, and most of the attention was on sophomore quarterback Richard Kovalcheck.

The Wildcats were second-to-last nationally among the 117 Division I teams in scoring last year, averaging 14.9 points per game in a 3-8 season.

"We need to attack a lot more," said Kovalcheck, who is expected to throw the football deeper this season. "We can't do what we did last year."

Kovalcheck missed all of spring practice because of back surgery.

He started the last four games of the 2004 season, throwing for 239 yards and three touchdowns in the season finale as Arizona beat Arizona State 34-27.

"It was good to get back out there again and get a feel for the guys," Kovalcheck said. "It was only the first day. It felt all right. It can get a lot better, that is for sure."

Kovalcheck, who completed 48 percent of his passes for 1,039 yards and six touchdowns last season, is clearly the No. 1 quarterback with sophomore Adam Austin and true freshman Willie Tuitama battling for the second spot.

All of them were pressured throughout much of the scrimmage-type workouts Thursday. The Wildcats defensive line batted several balls down, forced the quarterbacks out of the pocket and nearly intercepted several passes.

"Defensively I thought we looked really good," senior defensive end Marcus Smith said. "The (first unit) played well."