Preseason football camp often feels like “boot camp,” but Arizona coaches are taking it one step further by practicing in Fort Huachuca the rest of the week.
Players will sleep in barracks and mingle with soldiers at several nonfootball related events. Workouts begin at 8 a.m. Thursday at the Army base near Sierra Vista, about 70 miles southeast of Tucson.
“You will be with people that have great leadership and great discipline,” UA coach Mike Stoops said. “It will be a very positive experience for our kids and hopefully build our team. We think we are a big team (but) . . . look at the team they have.”
Arizona practices twice on Thursday and once Friday on the base before an open public scrimmage at Sierra Vista Buena High School at 9 a.m. Saturday.
It’s not all about football.
After Friday’s practice, players will break into offensive and defensive teams to take part in an army obstacle course and an Engagement Skills Training simulator. The “EST 2000″ resembles weapon training events that lead to live-fire individual and crew weapons qualifications.
The system features marksmanship, gunnery and tactical training and shoot/don’t shoot training.
The coaches will be busy doing something else.
“I will be (working on) football plays,” defensive coordinator Mark Stoops said.
A motivational dinner is slated during the visit with Lt. Col. Ted Martens, the deputy commanding officer for the 111th Military Intelligence Brigade. He will speak to players about his experience in Iraq.
“We look forward to hosting the Wildcats and preparing the team for their fight in the Pac-10 this year . . . ,” Maj. Gen. John Custer, the commanding general at Fort Huachuca, said in a news release.
“Anything we can do to help them train and build their morale and esprit de corps – things the Army is good at – we’re happy to do.”
The Wildcats will take a Buffalo Soldier historical tour following the scrimmage Saturday before returning to Tucson on Sunday.
This will be Arizona first out-of-town camp excursion since the Cats trained in 2000 at Cochise College, near the border town of Douglas. UA trained at Camp Cochise from 1982-2000
“We want to create a different atmosphere,” Stoops said. “We wanted to go down there and change up the everyday routine and get around and let them see what we do and watch us practice.
“And obviously we want to try to learn some things while we are there. I think it will be a great educational experience for our kids.”
Practices: Thursday – 8-10:15 a.m. and 5:45-7:45 p.m.; Friday – 8:30-10:45 a.m.
Scrimmage: 9 a.m. Satur- day at Sierra Vista Buena High
Note: The practices on the base are open to the public. Obtain a visitor’s pass by stopping at Visitors’ Center and showing a driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.