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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Student turnout low for ‘Meet the Team,’ community fans come out in full force”

    Kyle Day (82), Cole Graybill (48) and John Sanders (15) sign autographs for fans at the football teams Meet the Team event Saturday at Arizona Stadium. Around 8,500 fans came out to watch the teams final scrimmage.
    Kyle Day (82), Cole Graybill (48) and John Sanders (15) sign autographs for fans at the football team’s Meet the Team event Saturday at Arizona Stadium. Around 8,500 fans came out to watch the team’s final scrimmage.

    Students were sparse amid the thousands of Tucsonans who packed onto the Arizona Stadium field Saturday afternoon to jockey for hugs, handshakes and autographs from members of the Arizona football team during Meet the Team festivities.

    That didn’t prevent a select few from dealing with the cost of celebrity firsthand.

    Marketing juniors Alixe Holcomb and Jessica Krebs spent the bulk of the 90-minute event running a pair of small tables from which the public could get rosters, refrigerator magnets and other promotional items.

    Besides dealing with a steady flow of grab-happy parents and children, Holcomb found herself rushing back and forth from the line of Sharpie-toting athletes that engulfed the entire front row of the west bleachers.

    “”Some people will have like eight things (to sign) – balls, helmets, posters,”” she said. “”We have to have things flowing so everybody has an opportunity.””

    Holcomb and Krebs volunteered their afternoons as part of a semester-long program with the Arizona Sports Marketing Association. They will eventually earn a few elective credits, but in the short term, the event allowed them and three other marketing interns a chance to warm up for on-field giveaways put on during home games this year.

    “”I can’t tell you how many of these I’ve given out,”” Krebs said, holding up a cluster of playing-card-sized season schedules. “”Everybody’s really geared up.””

    The prospect of the first winning Wildcat football season since 1998 was enough to get science seniors Jason Wertz and Thomas Jefferson out of bed and bar and into the Arizona Stadium stands Saturday.

    Like many of their peers, they declined to join the din below, electing instead to arrive early and get seats near midfield for the team scrimmage that followed the meet-and-greet.

    The move worked out, as fans packed the entire student section and beyond.

    “”I’m just excited for football season to start,”” Wertz said. “”It’s too bad it doesn’t start next week.””

    Junior-college transfer Louis Holmes, the crown jewel of Arizona’s 2006 recruiting class and one of the event’s most popular players, said some team veterans talked to him earlier in the day about what to expect in his first go-around with “”Meet the Team.””

    Still, he was dazzled by the turnout.

    “”It was crazy,”” Holmes said. “”A lot of kids, a lot of fans, came up for autographs. It was a good experience.””

    Said wide receiver Mike Thomas, “”Just for them to come out and just show support, that does a lot for us. Once (Brigham Young) comes around (Sept. 2), you know this place is going to be packed.””

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