April 3, 2009
A number of former Wildcat professional football players will be on hand at Saturday's Spring Game for an autograph session at Arizona Stadium, as part of football alumni weekend.
More than 100 former Wildcat players will visit this weekend to take part in an invitational golf outing, a dinner and events in connection with the 2009 Wildcats' featured spring scrimmage in Arizona Stadium on Saturday..
Gates to Arizona Stadium open at noon, with the former pros and the current team set to sign autographs on the east side concourse above the Zona Zoo student section about 20 rows up from the field.
The 2009 team will sign autographs in the stadium from noon to 1 p.m.
UA coach Mike Stoops and staff will direct one of the final sessions in spring practice with the Spring Game at 1:30 p.m. It represents the 13th practice of spring ball, with two more slated for next week to conclude spring drills. In a departure from earlier seasons, team leaders selected Blue and White squads in a "draft" to stock the two teams for the game Saturday.
Among those on hand for the NFL pro signing event from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m. are four-time NFL Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs of the Chicago Bears; consensus first-team All-American linebacker Ricky Hunley (1980-83), a member of the College Football Hall of Fame; former 12-year NFL vet Glenn Parker, an offensive lineman who played in five Super Bowls;1994 Lou Groza Award winning kicker Steve McLaughlin; former eight-year pro cornerback Randy Robbins; and legendary UA placekicker Max Zendejas, an All-American whose nephew, Alex, is the current Wildcat kicker.
April NFL Draft hopefuls Eben Britton, Willie Tuitama, Mike Thomas and Nate Ness from the 2008 Arizona Las Vegas Bowl champions also will be on hand along with a dozen other former Wildcat pros including David Adams, Jim Arneson, Tony Bouie, Michael Bates, Copeland Bryan, Bill Demory, Marsharne Graves, Chris Henry, LaMonte Hunley, John Kaiser, Chris Singleton, Bobby Wade, Ray Wells and Claudius Wright.
Briggs, Henry, New York Giants safety Michael Johnson, San Diego Charger Antoine Cason and Cleveland Brown Syndric Steptoe are among Arizona's current professionals who plan some time in Tucson in the coming months to work out in the UA weight room.
Cornerback Cason, the 2008 Jim Thorpe Award winner, was slated to be on hand but the Chargers' hire of a new defensive back coach will have him in San Diego on Saturday.
Since Stoops arrived on campus in early 2004 he has encouraged former players - including his former Oklahoma Sooners' Lombardi Award winner and Briggs' teammate in Chicago, Tommie Harris - to return to spend time working out under the nearby eye of UA director of performance enhancement, Corey Edmond.
The general mood around Arizona football this spring has been one of relaxed optimism, notably because of the tangibly evident team speed, the contest at quarterback among sophomores Matt Scott, Nick Foles and Bryson Beirne, and overall depth at most positions. It's clearly been the program's smoothest and most productive spring session since Stoops' hire.
Stoops told the team after Friday morning's practice - a reasonably light one -- that he expected a full-speed and focused effort on Saturday.