There's not much that's cool at Arizona Stadium in August and September when the desert sun is relentless and temperatures are hovering in the 90s and 100s.
Now there will be - sort of.
The Arizona Wildcats announced this week that they will install synthetic turf at Arizona Stadium, replacing natural grass. The model: FieldTurf CoolPlay, which will cost about $1 million, Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne said.
The University of Maryland was the first school in the country to use the CoolPlay turf when it installed it last year. Arizona Stadium is believed to be just the second major stadium in the country to use it. CoolPlay reduces the on-field temperature 15-20 degrees while still getting the full quality of synthetic turf. It's still not quite as cool as natural grass, but it provides a more sturdy and consistent playing surface.
"It's new technology that can cool temperatures, and that's a big deal at Arizona Stadium," Byrne said.
It's not a surprise that coach Rich Rodriguez and the Wildcats selected FieldTurf. Rodriguez had the same company install synthetic turf during his time at both West Virginia and Michigan. Rodriguez is a coach who wants to win by playing fast, and his teams are even faster on synthetic turf.
"It's obviously a fast surface, which he likes," Byrne said. "It also allows us to use it 365 days of the year for practice and conditioning. We felt like it was a very productive step for the space we have."
Arizona is the eighth Pac-12 program to use some sort of FieldTurf on either its game or practice field. FieldTurf is also used by 22 of the 32 NFL teams in some fashion.
The stadium used to have a natural surface with hybrid Bermuda grass. It was resodded in 2009. Byrne said they will reveal the design of the field in the coming weeks.
"We try to be creative when we can, but I think it will be a look our fans will like," Byrne said.
Recruits get accolades
Two UA commits, running backs Zach Green and Pierre Cormier, were named first-team all-state by CalHiSports.com this week.
Green, out of St. Bonaventure High School in Ventura, is rated as a three-star recruit by Scout.com recruiting service and has been committed to Rodriguez and the Wildcats since April.
Cormier, a four-star recruit out of San Diego's Madison High, committed in August. He tweeted that the University of Tennessee offered him this week, but he remains committed to the Wildcats.
Wide receiver recruit Samajie Grant and cornerback Derek Babiash were named to the third team.
Devin Holiday, a cornerback out of San Marcos, was left off the all-state teams but was named the defensive MVP of the West Coast Bowl, an all-star showcase of top West Coast recruits, last weekend.
Additionally, quarterback Anu Solomon, out of Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas, was recently ranked by Sports Illustrated's Ben Glicksman as the incoming quarterback expected to have the biggest impact in college football.
Recruits can sign national letters of intent starting Wednesday.
Scroggins No. 1
Jesse Scroggins still has to battle for the starting quarterback job this spring and summer, but he's officially No. 1.
Scroggins will wear No. 1 this season, according to the official roster. The USC transfer was added to the roster last week and assigned a number shortly thereafter. He will battle Solomon and B.J. Denker for the starting spot. Walk-on running back Rochon Taylor, who was added to the roster the same time as Scroggins, will wear No. 31.