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Jedd Fisch hoping to make preseason camp an ‘NFL experience’ for Arizona fans

arizona-wildcats-shawn-miller-recruiting-commitment-receiver-2022-scottsdale-img-highlights Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Jedd Fisch’s coaching experience is pretty evenly split between college and professional jobs, so it’s no surprise he has pushed to make his first gig as a head coach feel like a blend of both.

One of the first signs of this came in the spring when he opened up practices to a limited number of fans, and he’s kicking that up several notches as preseason training camp begins Friday.

All 13 of Arizona’s camp practices are open to the public, with six of them designated as Fan Fest practices.

“We will be having what I hope to be as close to an NFL experience at a college town as possible,” Fisch said Wednesday.

Located on Bear Down Beach, the beach volleyball facility just east of the Dick Tomey Practice Fields, the Fan Fest will include music, games, inflatables and a kid zone.

“There should be everything from jump houses to opportunities to throw footballs to 40-yard dash to face painting to caricatures and everything in between,” Fisch said. “Our goal is to get the entire Tucson community to come out and embrace the experience like they do at an NFL camp. We’ll have a DJ there, we’ll have music. And obviously it’s free, and then practice is wide open after that.”

Three of the Fan Fest practices will also include autograph sessions. Arizona’s quarterbacks, receivers and defensive backs are scheduled to sign after Friday’s 8:30 a.m. practice, with the offensive and defensive linemen doing so after Saturday’s morning practice.

“I don’t see why it would be very different from an NFL town when you can pack in thousands to watch a practice for a training camp,” Fisch said.

Practices will be open to the media, too.

“I don’t know why you would ever close ‘em personally,” Fisch said at Pac-12 media day. “I’ll close ‘em during the season in terms of when it’s true game-planning week. We’ll do whatever we need to do there to keep it open for as long as we can for the media to be able to meet with us for half hour, whatever it might be. When it comes to training camp or spring football, isn’t football great to go watch? For me to be able to have people come watch and be a part of it is awesome. Everybody wants to perform in front of others. It’s an opportunity for our players to perform in front of other people, which I think is as cool as it gets. I’d love for our media to see what we’re doing. It’s a lot better than them guessing. It’s an opportunity for them to see how we interact, how we coach, what we do. I just feel like it’s the right thing to do and that’s why we do it.”

Here’s Arizona’s training camp schedule. All workouts will be at the Dick Tomey Practice Fields unless otherwise noted:

  • Aug. 6, 8:30 a.m. (Fan Fest from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.)
  • Aug. 7, 8:30 a.m. (Fan Fest from 9-12)
  • Aug. 8, 7:30 p.m. (Fan Fest from 7-10 p.m.)
  • Aug. 9, 6:30 p.m.
  • Aug. 11, 6:30 p.m.
  • Aug. 12, 6:30 p.m.
  • Aug. 13, 9:30 a.m.
  • Aug. 14, 8:30 a.m. (Fan Fest from 9-12)
  • Aug. 15, 7:30 p.m. in Arizona Stadium (Fan Fest from 7-10 p.m.)
  • Aug. 17, 8:30 a.m.
  • Aug. 18, 6:30 p.m.
  • Aug. 19, 7:30 p.m.
  • Aug. 21, 7:30 p.m. in Arizona Stadium (Fan Fest time TBD)