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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Cardinals help ‘Cats football weather the storm

Saul Bookman
The Arizona Cardinals welcomed the Arizona Wildcats football team on Aug. 9. The Cardinals allowed the Wildcats to use their training facility due to weather problems earlier in the week in Tucson.

In a week full of tragedy and bad luck, the Arizona Wildcats football team got a small reprieve from an unexpected source. The Arizona Cardinals aided the Wildcats with the use of their practice facilities, which included the use of an indoor field — something Head Coach Rich Rodriguez has been clamoring for here on campus.

“It’s not a want, it’s a need,” Rodriguez said while speaking about the necessity of an indoor facility due to the unpredictable nature of the weather in August.

Related: Arizona football’s practice facility in need of upgrade.

On Aug. 8, the Wildcats were hit with the tragic news of the death of Senior, Zach Hemmila, a projected starter and native of Chandler, Arizona. In addition to that, the monsoon season seemed to toy with the team, prompting the football staff to change the practice times from the evening to the morning. The first day of morning practices, of course, was another monsoon — leading Vice President of Athletics Greg Byrne, to scout the area in search of help.

One phone call to the Cardinals seemed to do the trick, as many of the Cardinals brass knew about the circumstances that were currently not in the Wildcats favor. The Cardinals did more than just lend a hand — they embraced their own moniker of “Our State of Football” and made the Wildcats feel at home. They painted one of the endzones on the practice field with the word ARIZONA, to mimic the design used at Arizona Stadium. They also put up banners welcoming the Wildcats to the facility — a true first-class move.

The Cardinals have been in Arizona since the ’88-89 season but have largely had to fight for fans and respect until more recently. Locally, there has been very little coverage of the Cardinals in terms of pre-season hype in the Tucson area — surprising considering they are division champions and are one of a handful of teams predicted to win the Super Bowl this year. This could only help matters. There are not very many teams in the NFL that would do what Michael Bidwill, Cardinals team president, and his organization have done.

The timing of help couldn’t have been better since Rodriguez and his staff were in Glendale, Ariz. the week before checking out cardinals practice as guests, something Bruce Arians, Head Coach of the Cardinals, is a fan of. Arians is keen on bringing in coaches to see the Cardinals facilities, and largely has built relationships with most of them. Rodriguez is among those ranks, so when they needed a hand it only seemed fitting that the cardinals were there to help.

The Wildcats were there for two days and got some much needed work under their belt without distraction. “Our State of Football,” as the Cardinals put it, seems to be in good shape and both teams look to achieve success moving forward — one with a world championship and the other hoping to make things better than they have been so far this year.

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