The Arizona Wildcats released their camp schedule Friday. The absence of a practice at Fort Huachuca is the most notable change.
Arizona has typically held a few days’ worth of practice at the Army installation and worked on team bonding while escaping the Tucson heat. This year, coach Rich Rodriguez will take the Wildcats there again — they just won’t practice when they travel to Fort Huachuca on Aug. 16, a Saturday, after a morning practice in Tucson.
The team will have dinner with the soldiers and stay on the installation overnight. The UA will then have breakfast with the soldiers the following morning and head back to Tucson for media day in the afternoon.
Rodriguez said last year he enjoyed the team’s annual trip to Fort Huachuca, but mostly for the team bonding and the interaction with the soldiers.
With Arizona’s new Lowell-Stevens Football Facility, there’s less of a need for the Wildcats to take their act on the road during camp. With the new facility, two practice fields and a turf field at Arizona Stadium, Rodriguez and the Wildcats have a convenient setup on campus.
Of the time with the soldiers, Rodriguez said last year, “A lot of those guys are about the same age as my players, so it’s really a good interaction there.”
Rodriguez did emphasize last year that the time away for multiple nights was a positive for the team. He enjoyed seeing the team come together.
“I’ve had places where we’ve done it for two weeks and places where we’ve just done it for two days,” Rodriguez said last year. “I like about four or five days. I think that’s just enough time.
“I think every football player needs to go through a camp experience, and this is what that gives us.”
The coach will try to duplicate the camp feel with his on-campus practices this fall.
The Wildcats will open camp on Aug. 2 with an evening practice. The team’s first two-a-day session is Aug. 7. The final camp practice is set for Aug. 22.
One highlight of the team’s annual trip to Fort Huachuca was an open practice to the fans. Plans for an open practice this fall are still to be determined. There is not an open practice on the initial schedule.
Classes begin Aug. 25. The UA opens its season Aug. 29, a Friday, against UNLV at Arizona Stadium. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.