The Arizona State University football team begins its pursuit of what Sun Devils fans are hoping will be a berth in a postseason bowl game today at Camp Tontozona.
The NCAA limit of 105 players, a 10-member coaching staff and several truck loads of equipment began arriving at the camp this morning and will remain there until the traditional camp-ending fans' scrimmage at 10 a.m. Aug. 19.
Following the two-hour scrimmage, the team will return to the school's Tempe campus where it continues preparations for an Aug. 31 season-opening, nationally televised clash against San Diego State.
During the Sun Devils 11-day stay at Tontozona, the practice schedule typically includes two-a-day sessions at 8:45 a.m. and 4:05 p.m.
Players will don full pads for the first time Aug. 12 at a morning walk-through session. There will be no practices Aug. 14.
Spectators are welcome at the sessions free of charge, but coaches warn that practice schedules are subject to change especially in the case of inclement weather.
Also, the mostly uncrowded weekday sessions are the most fan-friendly allowing spectators an up-close and personal look at the players.
On weekends and at the Aug. 19 session, Devils disciples from around the state often overwhelm the facilities at the mountain retreat.
During the Devils' glory years that centered around former quarterback Jake Plummer. Crowds of 5,000 flocked to the annual fans' scrimmage.
To reach Camp Tontozona, follow Highway 260 to Kohl's Ranch. After crossing the Tonto Creek bridge, turn into the camp one mile past the fire station turnoff on the right side of the road. A private parking lot is approximately 300 yards from the gate.
The walk to the football field is a short hike down the hill.
Those who opt to attend the highly popular fans' scrimmage should plan for a much longer walk because the lot fills up quickly and the only available parking is along Highway 260 or near Kohl's Ranch.