Corky Simpson COLUMN
Corky Simpson Citizen Sports Columnist
The Arizona football team’s fall training camp at Cochise College this week is exactly the opposite , and yet strangely similar , of the mother who drives the family van two blocks so her kids can go to exercise class.
Neither makes a lot of sense.
The football team packs up several vans, trucks, buses and cars, an entire medical, strength and training staff, travel coordinator, office secretaries and sizable video studio . . .
And the convoy travels two hours to ‘Camp Cochise,’ the community college located in a remote corner of the state, eight miles west of Douglas and two miles north of the Mexican border.
The idea is for the players to spend a week beating up on each other, away from the distractions of the community where they’ll live, play ball and, we hope, go to classes during the coming school year.
The idea also is to stay away from all the people the Wildcats hope will go to watch them play this season.
? ? ? ?
The best thing about Camp Cochise is the food served in the junior college cafeteria.
Well, that and the fact the lads are in virtual confinement for an entire week while they brush up on the subtle differences between right and left, ‘hut-two’ and ‘hut-three.’
Before it’s over, most of them will know in which direction a sweep-right travels.
But what the heck, Arizona State has its Camp Tontozona. The pro teams all have training camps. Just about everybody goes somewhere. And UA has been training at the Douglas facility continually since 1982.
The Wildcats bivouacked there under coach Jim Young in the 1970s, but Tony Mason (1977-79) preferred to stay in town. Actually, Mason wanted to train on Mount Lemmon but couldn’t find anybody to build him a football field.
Larry Smith (1980-86) brought back the summer camp in ’82.
Like spring practice, I suspect fall training is mostly for the benefit of the coaching staff. Players who take the game seriously these days train year round.
They are never out of shape.
They pump iron, they run, they either wolf down food like starved lumberjacks to gain weight, or like a bird to lose it , whichever suits the head coach.
Then they show up at fall camp and the coach raves about one kid who has ‘beefed up’ and another who has ‘trimmed down.’
It isn’t nice to mention in your polite company, dear reader, but quite often at your Camp Cochises, those who beefed up all summer, barf up in fall camp.
The media, of course, follow this army with grit and determination, eager to send back daily dispatches on the veteran nose tackle who took up macrame over the summer, and the sensational high school recruit who wants to go into pre-med if he doesn’t become an astronaut or a fireman.
Reporters all stay in the area’s finest accommodations, the downtown Motel Chicken (where the rates are cheep), and are careful to ward off the ever-present dry throat by hauling along a cooler loaded with ice and beer.
They wouldn’t admit it, but Camp Cochise brings the brotherhood of reporters together, too.
They have a long and frightful season ahead, themselves, and what better way to prepare for Wildcat football than to experience the vast and crushing boredom of a week’s sentence to Douglas?
The following is in no way meant to make light of another’s typographical error, but perhaps the UA football media guide put it best when it said of Camp Cochise:
‘Arizona football is furtunate to have an outstanding fall training sit.’
Citizen Sports Columnist Corky Simpson may be reached at 573-4635 (fax 573-4569).