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Arizona football: Wildcats take a week on the road

After tragic news on Monday, Arizona hasn’t exactly been in Tucson for very long

Jason Bartel

The Arizona Wildcats have had a tough week.

It all started on Monday morning when the team was informed at the end of a practice that was cut short that center Zach Hemmila had passed away in his sleep the previous night.

There is almost no way to predict how a team will respond to adversity like this, or a definite way for a particular person to grieve and remember a fallen friend and teammate.

But the way the rest of the week played out probably helped a lot of those players.

The Cats were supposed to return to practice and Sancet Stadium early Tuesday morning, but a severe thunderstorm rolled through Tucson, flooding campus and making it impossible to practice in Sancet or Arizona Stadium.

That forced Greg Byrne to get on the phone with the Arizona Cardinals, and the Wildcats were set from there.

The team did return to Tucson Thursday night for Hemmila’s viewing, and had a short practice Friday morning in a soggy Sancet before attending his funeral.

"I guess," Rich Rodriguez told me when I asked him if Friday felt like a more normal practice day. "They get a little tired as camp goes on, but I think for a morning practice they moved around pretty good and they’re a pretty resilient group so far anyway."

On Saturday, the team hit the road again, but this trip has been scheduled for a while. The Wildcats spent a couple days at Fort Huachuca outside of Sierra Vista.

And it looks like they got a little more in than just football.

Will these two road trips heal all the emotional wounds the Arizona players have been dealing with since Monday? No. But they certainly can’t hurt.