One of the biggest differences between Arizona football under new head coach Jedd Fisch and his predecessor Kevin Sumlin is the amount of access the public is given to the program.
Among other things, Fisch is allowing fans to watch full spring practices and has promised that he and his staff will be more accessible to the media. The idea is that the transparency will strengthen the bond between the program and the fanbase, as well as help the Wildcats create a brand that it can sell not just to the UA faithful but recruits as well.
A good example: the program released a five-minute video late Tuesday that gives you an inside look at Fisch’s first day of practice and immerses you in what it’s like to be part of the day-to-day operations of the program.
The video starts at 5:29 a.m. with Fisch emerging from his hotel’s elevator, donning a navy pullover and khaki shorts. He grabs his car at the curb and pops over to the Starbucks on University Boulevard where, based on the back-and-forth dialogue he has with the baristas, he is a regular.
On his short drive over to Arizona Stadium, he phones his wife Amber and shares his excitement about the upcoming day.
“I can’t wait,” Fisch says. “It will be exciting to watch the guys go, to see what it actually looks like. It’s gonna be great.”
With the sun still yet to rise, Fisch parks in Cherry Garage and ducks into the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility. He says the first thing he always does is read printed articles about his program at his desk.
Later, Fisch strolls over to offensive coordinator Brennan Carroll’s office where Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice” can be heard from the hallway. Quite the 7 a.m. vibe.
“We ready to go?” Fisch says.
“Just starting the day off right, Coach!” replies Carroll, who Fisch calls “BC.”
Fisch returns to his desk for a Zoom call with UA legend Tedy Bruschi, who is now on staff as a part-time consultant. Fisch tells Bruschi that position coaches/UA alumni Ricky Hunley and Chuck Cecil are going to talk to the players about what it means to be a Wildcat.
“It’s a pretty neat thing to listen to them,” Fisch tells Bruschi.
At 8:30 a.m. Fisch gathers the coaching staff in the spacious film room where he drops a fabulous one-liner about the team’s practice plans: “If it’s windy, the defense will go outside and the offense will go inside. Why? Because I coach offense.”
The room laughs and the scene cuts to the first team meeting in the Davis Center, where the players are seated six feet apart and wearing masks, listening intently to their new head coach.
“It’s now time to get started,” Fisch says.
Practice begins around 4 p.m. and Fisch banters with wide receiver Jamarye Joiner during warmups. Fisch takes note of the unusual rainy weather: “A little New England weather to get things going.” (He, of course, was an assistant for the Patriots last season.)
Inside the Davis Center, Fisch is shown calling plays with Washington State transfer quarterback Gunner Cruz, who could be the starter in September.
“Let’s go gun here. Dot right 363 Houston.”
“Give me lightning 40 from the huddle.”
Practice wraps up around 7 p.m. as heavy rain starts to fall. From the warmth of the Davis Center, Fisch delivers a message to his team.
“We’re going to make one correction after another correction after another correction, and then we’re going to watch six really good plays in a row and be like, ‘wow, we’ve got a chance here,’” he says. “And then we’re going to watch another few plays in a row and be like, ‘wow, we’re far away.’ But here’s the deal—we are far away. We’re far away from September, the goal is to win in September.
“That was a heck of a job working all the way through. Probably didn’t even feel like three hours. That’s a football game, men. Every Sunday, every Saturday, games are three hours long.”
Suddenly it’s 8:30 p.m. and Fisch is back at his desk, poring over film while snacking on what appears to be some sort of salad. He marvels at Northwestern transfer running back Drake Anderson, who is shown making a sick cut through the line for a big gain.
“Who is this? This is Drake?” Fisch asks another coach.
Fisch points out something about special teams analyst Scottie Spurrier before the video ends.
“Good energy by Scottie Spurrier right there, huh?” Fisch says.