The Wildcats football team needs help, so they've looked for reinforcements on campus.
TUCSON, Arizona - While James Slade Jr., a freshman studying physiology, sat on Saturday night in the section University of Arizona students to watch another football game gone wrong, he didn't think much of the missed tackles, temperamental passes or other shortcomings that contributed to the 17th consecutive loss of the Wildcats.
Instead, he was enchanted by the green grass, wondering how he would feel under his feet.
"That 's all I thought about - how awesome it would be to be there " Slade said.
And so there was Slade three nights later, a 59-mong hopefuls who showed up on Tuesday for an open try to join the Wildcats in the midst of what has become another trying season. Maybe sitting somewhere in a psychology class was a future Patrick Mahomes waiting to be discovered - or even just a willful tackle dummy who might come in handy in practice.
They arrived with varying ambitions, one with a skateboard under his arm and the other with a mouthful of golden teeth, and came in all shapes, sizes, and even genders - although five women in line were turned away and said they didn't have the right paperwork.
When asked what position she hoped to play, Rachel Shamblott, a 5-f oot-6, 135-pound freshman from Minneapolis, smiled and said: " Tight end - like Gronk . "(Happy All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski was an Arizona star.)
Two former high school football players said they were inspired by Sarah Fuller, the Vanderbilt soccer goalie who played for her college football team last year, with great success. One of them, Nicole, a senior from Dana Point, Californie, who requested that his last name not be used, reported a loss last month to northern Arizona, who plays in the championship subdivision of lower level soccer. "Honestly, they couldn't be worse, " she said of the Wildcats.
It might not be relatively true.
The Wildcats' lowest moment came last December when they were humiliated by rival Arizona State, 70-7 . Kevin Sumlin was fired as a coach within hours and replaced by Jedd Fisch, 45, a traveling career assistant who immediately began trying to snuggle up with a lukewarm community upon arrival. He has held video conferences with hundreds of former Arizona players - and has become one of their biggest employers: former stars Ricky Hunley, Chuck Cecil, Brandon Sanders are assistants.ants and Tedy Bruschi, when not in ESPN studios, serves as senior advisor. .
Fisch was everywhere - on podcasts, TV shows, radio shows, Twitter and around town talking to boosters - trying to spark interest, even walking down the fraternity line before the house opens to hand out T-shirts. He helped generate $ 6 million that has already been spent on renovating football facilities.
The Wildcats (0-5) were competitive against the 'Oregon and UCLA, ranked ninth, but what looked like a tangible opportunity to end the nation's longest losing streak on Saturday at Colorado (1-4) grew further when quarterback Jordan McCloud been lost for the season with a leg injury ury against UCLA
So there are more than 50 players who don 't haveNever experienced a generational Arizona football ritual: singing "Bear Down" in the locker room after a win - an anthem Hunley, who was an All-America in Arizona, had to teach so many of them this summer .
Football trials are not unusual on college campuses, but they are almost always out of season or at the start of camp if teams don 't have it. not reached the limit of 120 players. When Fisch was an assistant in Miami, flyers were issued asking any South Florida campus student who was 6 feet 1 inch, 230 pounds or more to contact the football office to find out how to play. But it was in March. A similar tryout happened when Fisch was an assistant at Michigan, but it was in January.
If a trial takes place during the season, he is considered a call for help.
"The optics were not geniusiale "said Barrett Baker, who secured a berth in a walk-in tryout and ultimately captained the special teams on the 1998 squad that set an academic record with 12 wins.
Fisch said the reality is more nuanced. He had planned to hold trials earlier this year, but wanted to wait until his team were fully vaccinated, which was the case in mid-August. At that time there were no places on the roster. When he lost two players to the transfer portal in September, a try-out notice was issued. was posted on Twitter.
Fisch said the decision to make the trial open closed to journalists - who are allowed to attend portions of the practice - was not intended to reduce, but was in line with what he said was his practice of keeping high school camps closed.
"I feel bad, it wasinterpreted negatively because there was nothing negative, "Fisch said of the essay, adding that it was a way of giving back to a university that has so far brought its support. "Was he just a great high school player who was planning to be on a tryout in January?" Maybe there's a big body, track guy or kicker that could help you next year. "
Fisch did not attend the test. A handful of assistants registered the leads, gave them numbered workout jerseys (which were returned afterwards) and mainly rated their speed in a dash of 40 meters, their agility in a shuttle exercise and their skills for receivers and quarterbacks in executing certain routes. The entire exercise lasted an hour.
Dylan Davis, a Sacramento State wide receiver who entered the portal ofs transfers after the cancellation of his season last year, looked away. He had driven 500 miles from his home in Long Beach, Calif., Although the trial was only open to students from Arizona. "Sometimes a coach will let you in if he knows how badly you want him, " Davis said as he paced outside the stadium gates.
Among those inside was Jonathan Allen, a freshman from Reedy, Texas, who is just 5ft 7in, 140lb and torn his ligaments. two knees in high school, but he had little doubt that he could win a place. "It's hard to have a look when you're my size, but if you've got speed, hands, and good roads you have a chance," he said.
Justin Akinsipe, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound junior who grew up in Kulmbach, Germany, and played the defensive back at Mesa Community College in Arizona was also full of confidence. He was encouraged to try by Roberto Miranda, a fellow German who is a freshman tight end for Arizona. "It 's not me doing a hobby," he said. "I'm dedicated and I know I'm good enough.
As he said goodbye to a reporter, the insurance d 'Akinsipe against all odds had not faded, which somehow seemed to at least make him a reasonable candidate for a team that needs a deep reservoir of belief.
"It will be a big story someday," Akinsipe said of his trip. "It will be a crazy story.
It might be someday, but on Wednesday Fisch, sitting in his plush office, said that no one who had tried it would be ajouted to the team.