TUCSON--Spring ball is over, serious summer conditioning won't start until after Memorial Day, and the season opener is still five months away, but there's no time like the present to get Arizona season football tickets.
"It's a great time to buy. We have solid choices in all seating areas," assistant AD James Francis said. "All of us in the athletics department are optimistic, as usual, and we think this could be a super season," he added. Francis, a former Wildcat safety and special teams stalwart in the 'Desert Swarm' years, ought to know.
He also said that it's a good time for patrons who were considering buddying up with friends in nearby seats to check with the Ticket Office for those kinds of buying opportunities. The season ticket renewal deadline is May 11 and flexibility still exists in many areas for multiple purchases, he said.
A year ago Arizona posted the second-largest per-game attendance in school history, averaging over 55,000 in Arizona Stadium, where capacity is now listed at 57,400 in the second year of Zona Zoo student section popularity. That part of the stadium, on the east side from goal line to goal line, seats more than 10,500 students. It's generally been full of enthusiastic fans for the past two years.
Workouts by players still continue -- five or six different groups work with performance enhancement director Corey Edmond in the weight room on different days. Edmond's summer regimen of more intensive sessions will begin after the players get a break when school ends in a few weeks, and he said he will have "One hundred percent participation, you can count on it." Also, players will gather on the practice field without coaches for individual voluntary drills running plays and formations throughout the summer.
The Cats' spring practice ended last Saturday.after head coach Mike Stoops and staff held the 14th of the 15 allowed practices with their annual Spring Game.. The final permissible practice was canceled largely because of caution. The team had no serious injuries during spring and didn't want to risk it with more action. Plus, offseason recruiting began in earnest on Sunday.
The switchover to a spread offense was one focal point during spring, and based on 1,000 yards of offense in two spring scrimmages -- against a pretty good Arizona defense -- the change is a good one. Arizona was ninth in the Pac-10 in most offensive statistical categories last year and feels its defensive strength will give it a chance to win more consistently if it can move the ball down the field and stick it in the end zone.
UA won six games in 2006, and coaches pretty much agree it was a pretty tough task based on that offensive output. The spread, it's hoped, is one answer. Offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes, who last year helped co-direct the same kind of attack at Texas Tech and pile up huge numbers, was able to install the bulk of the offense during spring, The Cats threw 125 passes in those two scrimmages, so the idea behind the system is pretty obvious -- throw it and catch it.
Season tickets (click here for complete information) range from $80 to $170, with preferred areas bearing priority charges. Single-game tickets won't go on sale until August. They also vary in price, from $12 to $220 depending on area.
The Cats open the season Sept. 1 in Provo, Utah, against Brigham Young, and open at home Sept. 8 against Northern Arizona.
The default times for kickoffs in Arizona Stadium are 7 p.m. through September and 4 p.m. in October and November. All game times will be subject to television scheduling. The TV selection process starts next month and in June under Pac-10 contracts with ABC Sports, Fox Sports Net and Turner Sports-TBS. A number of games will remain in the pot for weekly selection by TV networks during the season, and UA broadcast partners HOST Communications and FSN Arizona also are likely to designate some games for local broadcast in the Arizona markets.
The McKale Center Ticket Office is open daily from 9 to 5 p.m. Call 520-621-2287 or 800-452-CATS.