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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

This is their turf

This+is+their+turf

When Francisco Guzman watches football games he isn’t looking at the players. He’s looking at the grass.

“”Some of the games I go up to just to make sure the field is okay. I just kind of watch it on TV just to see how it looks on TV, if the color is right, strong. “”If the color is light I can prep it for stronger fertilizer,”” said Guzman, grounds crew chief for UA Facilities Management. “”It’s like playing a scientist trying to figure out how the field can be for the next game.””

A crew of about 10 men works on the football turf year-round.

“”Field maintenance is a year-long thing. It’s not something you do just for the game. You do maintenance 12 months out of the year so it can withhold all the abuse by the players,”” said Bo Vanture, senior project manager for Facilities Management.

The field needs a full week before it’s ready for game time.

“”If the football game is on Saturday, we’re there on Sunday morning prepping for the next game, and we go through all steps to feel ready,”” Guzman said.

After games the crews make the field level, cover all the divots made by cleats, fine groom the field and put sand in the middle.

“”First couple of games it’s easy, but as the season goes on it gets harder for keeping the colors,”” Guzman said.

As the temperatures cool down, the entire crew covers the field with turf blankets to keep the grass warm.

“”That’s one of the few times I get everyone out there (on the field),”” Vanture said. “”As we get into October or November the temperature cools off and the turf slows down growing. So we cover the field with blanket so it warms up the field and stimulates it up so it thinks it’s warmer than it is and it

gets greener.””

Vanture serves as a mentor for many of the crewmembers.

“”I’ve been under his (Vanture’s) wings, I’ve learned a lot from him. He’s been here for 30 something years, and he’s a smart man,”” Guzman said. “”We take a lot from him.””

Vanture started classes at the UA after serving in the U.S. Air Force and began working here to support his family.

“”My oldest son graduated from there (the UA), and my youngest son is a senior, and my wife works there in the Lunar and Planetary Sciences,”” Vanture said. “”It’s nice having her close. I’ll take her to lunch.””

The grounds crew is a tight-knit group as well.

“”We are pretty close. It’s like family away from home, and we know each one’s families,”” Guzman said.

Gruzman loves his job because “”you never know what’s going to happen.””

“”It’s one of those places where I get to do my work, where the rest of the country sees my work on the field, sees the field nationwide on TV,”” Guzman said.

“”Sometimes it’s like you’re playing against other groundskeepers across the country.””

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