About a week after the Arizona Wildcats’ win in the New Mexico Bowl, senior center Kyle Quinn got a call from a number he didn’t recognize. He answered anyway.
“This is Coach Tomey.”
“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh,” Quinn said about hearing from Dick Tomey, the winningest coach in Arizona history.
“I got nervous. I actually got goosebumps. Just hearing from him with the amount of respect I have for him and the passion he has for this school and this city, it’s really amazing.”
There was a practical purpose for the call. Tomey, serving as a head coach and procurer of talent for the Casino Del Sol College All-Star Game, was inviting Quinn to participate in the game, which took place Friday at Kino Stadium.
Quinn and two other ex-Wildcats — fullback/defensive end Taimi Tutogi and defensive lineman Dominique Austin — helped the West squad to a 40-7 victory.
“I was really proud of all those guys,” Tomey said after the game. “Taimi was terrific. Kyle is a great leader.”
Tutogi and Quinn, having absorbed lessons from Tomey and the Casino Del Sol coaching staff, are moving on this week to the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, which will be played Saturday at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Quinn figured a week of practice at the Casino Del Sol game will give him an edge.
“The good thing was that I got the rust off, because we all felt the rust. A lot of guys had been off for a few weeks,” Quinn said.
“Going into next week, I feel like I have the advantage over most of the guys because a lot of them haven’t played yet. I’ll take that and use it to my advantage. I have learned you have to strap that helmet up really tight because these guys can hit.”
Quinn split time at center on Friday night with Utah’s Tevita Stevens. Austin had two tackles, including one for loss. Tutogi carried five times for 28 yards.
“It was nice,” Tutogi said of his workload, “seeing that I only got the ball once at the U of A this year. I tried to take the ball and have a little bit of a chip on my shoulder and did what I could with it. I think it worked out well.”
Quinn and Tutogi will get more good coaching this week. The head coaches for the NFLPA game are Herm Edwards and Dick Vermeil. Former NFL players fill many assistant coaching spots. Former Arizona defensive coordinator Larry Mac Duff is assisting, as well.
“I have to memorize a whole new playbook,” Quinn said. “So I have to burn this playbook in the back of my mind and get ready. But that’s the life of an NFL player. You have to be a student every week. It’s a lot of fun.”
Two more former Wildcats will be in action this week. Quarterback Matt Scott (the top prospect among ex-Arizona players) and receiver Dan Buckner will play in the East-West Shrine Game from St. Petersburg, Fla., on Saturday.
The NFL Network will carry the East-West Shrine Game, starting at 2 p.m. Tucson time. ESPN2 will show the NFLPA game beginning at 4 p.m.