Monday, August 31, 2009

All Signs Point to GAME WEEK

You can just feel it in the air, it is GAME WEEK!!!!! Training camp went smooth and quick, and now we have finally reached the week we have been waiting for, game week. Not only can you feel it in the air, but signs all around McKale point to something special about to begin. Students are constantly lined up picking up their Zona Zoo t-shirts, people are in line getting tickets to the game, you can hear the band practicing over on Beardown Field. It seems to be everywhere.

Last week Tim, Benny and myself assigned Trunks to managers that must be packed for each game. The managers were coming in all day working on those trunks. Helmet and Shoulder Pad maintenance is in full swing. You can just tell!!!

We got all the credentials from Event Management and Erick Harper, so that is done. One of the important things is waiting on Coach Stoops and the players to decide what color pant and jersey we are wearing Saturday.

You know it is game week when practice is on lock down:
KGUN 9 is doing a live remote on practice just outside Jiminez Practice Facility:
Head Women's Basketball Coach, Niya Butts (far right), Brandy Manning (middle) talk to Brian Odom during practice:

Jeff Gallego hustles to place ball during Team Run:

Zac Risdon and Michael Barnett RUN their pop up over to post practice area:

Managers carry pop ups over to area for post practice work:

Managers get ready for special teams period minutes before it hits:

Each jugs machine uses its own Honda generator. We use two jugs during special teams:
Mike Reed firing off punts to punt returners during special teams:

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Little Early Morning Work

We got here early this morning for a 9am Saturday morning practice, and while some of the managers are out setting up the field for practice, others are getting some duties done inside in the equipment room. Some of the inside work is simple cleaning and organizing, while a couple of the managers are kicking out player name tags for their overnight travel bags we will be using this coming Friday night. Each player that goes to the hotel gets the use of a small duffel bag for a change of clothes and toiletries. We make the player name tags right here in the equipment room.

Jeff Gallego and Jordan Gobel were given the task of making these this morning before practice. As you can see by the pictures below, they do GREAT WORK!!!!!

We print out sheets of players names and numbers on one of the computers in the equipment room:
Jordan Gobel cutting each nameplate for lamination:
Jordan marking for precise cutting:
Jeff Gallego putting each cut nameplate into a sleeve for lamination:

Equipment Room's laminator at work, laminating player bag tags:
Finished product, Trevin Wade's bag tag:

Friday Practice, August 28, 2009

Today we were wrapping up a week of work at Jiminez Practice Facility in preparation for Central Michigan. The team itself really seemed to come together as units this week. You can tell the focus has moved towards game week preparation. The players are still working incredibly hard to have a great season.

The managers continue to work hard too. Tim, Benny and myself spent a lot of time this past week meeting about different duties for everyone for game days. We have an extensive notebook for every home and away game that each of us follow on each game day. Even though our work is nearly the same every game, we still follow a very detailed notebook that has checklist so we do not forget anything, including checking the showers for hot water. The book also lines out in detail each persons duties from the time they arrive to the stadium, to when the team arrives, then during the game, and after the game.

Everyone seems very excited about next week, GAME WEEK!!!! I know I am.

Three of our best: (l to r): Robert Lloyd, Jordan Bates and Michael Barnett running balls during individual period:
Jack Banker putting dummy back in proper place after D Lineman knocks it around:
Donald Horton attacking the dummies set up by managers:

Jordan Gobel, working hard, as usual:
Jordan Gobel pulling a HEAVY dummy in place for D Line work:

Managers setting up dummies for Defensive Line Drill:

Ben Hulka giving Coach Kish a ball during linebacker individual drills:

Ben Hulka shagging balls during linebacker individual drills:

Greatest linebacker coach I have ever worked with, Tim Kish:

Managers running Routes on Air during individual period:

We never take a chance with rain this time of the year. Even the sunniest days can develop into 5 minute down pour, so we bring out coaches rain gear trunk everyday:

Willie Salzman carrying ball bag around during special teams just in case they holler for BALL:

Billy getting dummy turned around after player went through knocking them around:
Defensive Line working hard as usual:

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Getting Ready

Even though we still don't know in the equipment room which color jersey we will be wearing against Central Michigan, we have decided to get started on completing the red set of jerseys first. Even though 90% of the new jerseys come with the names already on them, there are always new walk ons that need jerseys with their names on their jerseys too.

Tim told me we only have about a dozen or so of each color to get ready, we went to work on getting them ready as if we played this Saturday. Nike makes us new nameplates with the letters sewn on a nameplate of the names of the walk ons, then we sew them on the jersey.

Also, there is usually a new size or two for some of the players who need adjusting on their size we ordered for them. All in all, by doing this exercise, we know game time is right around the corner.

New manager, Jordan Gobel, is already a champion with the Singer sewing machine:

Faculty/Staff Luncheon at McKale

Alixe Holcomb of our marketing department asked me a few weeks ago during the summer if I could come up to one of the weekly luncheons for Faculty and Staff here in McKale. I always enjoy being able to share my passion for football equipment with those that might be interested.

Today we had an awesome group up in the Loshe room of McKale for a luncheon about season tickets for the upcoming season. They had great questions about all of the equipment we brought up for show and tell.

I think they enjoyed being able to handle and get an up close view of all the different pieces of equipment.

Two of UofA's finest were amazed at how shoulder pads had changed since their playing days:
I am showing the group the Riddell IQ helmet. They enjoyed being able to handle each of the different helmets I brought:
Talked to the group about the technology behind the Riddell CPX pads:

Explaining to the group about our jerseys and how we size them:

Showing the group a pair of our practice pants and explaining the difference between practice pants and game pants:

Now showing the group game pants, then passing them around to see the difference in weight:

Talking to the group about our different shoes, and showing them Nike Vapor shoes:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hump Day at Jimenez

Well, it feels much like a bye week during the season. A lot of hard work by the players, coaches, trainers, video staff, strength coaches, and the managers, yet, there is no game this Saturday.

We are getting closer and closer to the first game of the season against Central Michigan. The excitement increases each day we show up at McKale Center.

The players and managers alike have a few days of school and classes behind them, and it is starting to feel like the season grind we endure each season.

As you can see by the pictures, we have changed the field arrangements at Jiminez Practice Facility. We have one large field that runs parallel to the game field at Arizona Stadium. Those of you who have seen our practice field in the past may notice the difference. It has seemed a little weird for everyone I think, it will just have to take some getting use to.

One thing though has not changed, and that is the daily drills we run each day at football practice. As you can see in the pictures, the managers do the same routine they do each day before. Even the new managers are already feeling comfortable with their roles with their coach and position.

Earlier in the morning, Tim, Benny and myself went over some season long duties for the managers. One of their major duties is packing trunks for each game. This is an AWESOME responsibility and we feel very comfortable with the managers doing this job. Trust me, we do not just draw names out of a hat. We obviously choose seasoned veterans that we know can be trusted with the very important trunks, such as uniforms or coaches game clothes. Once again, we are very fortunate to have such high character kids in our program.

We also decided on which four managers will be ball boys during games. Most of the managers really enjoy this job because they feel like they are part of each play of the game, so we let them sign up if they were interested. About half of the managers signed up, and this morning we chose the four. They are: Robert Lloyd and Mike Barnett on the UofA sideline; and Jeff Gallego and Jordan Bates on the visitors. These guys are considered "officials" of the game and this job is very important. Because these guys signed up and requested this job, this is an honor for them. Congratulations to them.

Enjoy a few pictures from earlier practice today:

Monday, August 24, 2009

2009 Arizona Wildcat Student Football Managers

As mentioned before on this blog, our student managers are very important and critical to the success of our equipment operation for this football team. Tim, Benny and myself feel we have assembled an AWESOME staff for this school year. Each of them play a very important role on this football team.

As we go throughout this season, I plan on highlighting each and everyone of these students and telling much more about them. Today was the first day of class for the students, and the first day in a long time that they were not spending a bunch of hours at McKale getting ready for a practice.

I can not thank these kids enough for their commitment and dedication to the equipment operation and to our football program.

Jack Banker of West Lafayette Indiana:Michael Baranowski of Buffalo Grove Illinois:

Michael Barnett of New City, New York:

Jordan Bates of Orlando Florida:

Ryan Ewalt of El Paso Texas:

Jeff Gallego of Tucson Arizona:

Jordan Gobel of Highland Park Illinois:

Mike Harlow of Idaho Falls Idaho:

Ben Hulka of Winfield Illinois:

John Landwehr of Rancho Murieta California:

Robert Lloyd of Foster City California:
Mike Reed of Alamo California:

Zak Risdon of Mundelein Illinois:

Willie Salzman of Palo Alto California:

Billy Worthington of Scottsdale Arizona: