Hotshots hit with pads, preach safe tackling after feisty exchange

Hotshots hit with pads, preach safe tackling after feisty exchange

SAN ANTONIO — The Arizona Hotshots put on pads for the first time at training camp, and it turned up the heat at practice on a cool day.

Not that practices need any kind of jolt of intensity, given how vocal and full of energy padless practices had been.

The sound of pads popping and grunts from players was everywhere, a welcome sight for head coach Rick Neuheisel.

“Organized chaos. It’s kind of like going back to grade school when you get your pads,” Neuheisel said. “Everybody’s anxious to be the toughest guy on the block. But we have to be professional and make sure we’re taking care of each other. I thought for the most part we did that. We had one little skirmish which can happen, you like the competitiveness but you’ve got to make sure that everybody’s getting to the dance, so to speak. I’m not displeased. It’s all good. I’m having a blast.”

Former University of Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright III delivered the day’s biggest hit when he thumped running back Tim Cook on a running play during team drills. Wright was back in practice for the first time since the opening session of camp last Saturday, after sitting out with an illness.

The offensive and defensive linemen went at it during blocking drills and were involved in a small scuffle during team drills . Defensive tackle Will Sutton III was part of that, then later took a moment at the end of practice to talk to the team about not hitting hard enough to injure a teammate.

Sutton’s words resonated with many players.

“We all really have the same goal, everybody trying to get back to the next level or get to the next level if they haven’t reached it before,” defensive tackle Darius Latham said. “So we have to put our pride aside and work together.”

NOTES: The Hotshots signed six new players and released six before Wednesday’s practice. RB Justin Stockton, who got a shot with the Seattle Seahawks earlier this year, was the most active among the new arrivals. … WR Josh Huff, signed just before camp, made his practice debut.