Sun Devil Training Camp Shortened To Six Days


New Arizona State University football coach Dirk Koetter apparently thinks the team's 10-day stays at Camp Tontozona under former coach Bruce Snyder were too long.

Koetter recently shortened the Devils' preseason training camp to just six days Aug. 12 to 18.

That means that those who work the traditional Monday through Friday work week will have just two opportunities to visit the camp opening day Sunday, and the final session on Saturday.

Exact practice times for the stay have not been finalized, but the team traditionally has participated in two-a-day sessions once in the morning and another in the late afternoon. A fans-scrimmage on the final day of camp has always highlighted the Devils' stay.

When ASU coaches finalize the practice schedule, it will be published in the Payson Roundup.

Remember when?

Longtime Rim country residents and Arizona State University football fans will recall bygone days when the Sun Devils' camp-ending fan scrimmage was held on the Payson High School football field.

The event was a highlight of the summer and drew fans from around the state eager for an up-close and personal look at legendary coach Frank Kush and the long list of players he sent into the pro ranks.

About 25 years ago, I watched a young quarterback named Mark Malone strong-arm spirals to lightning-quick receivers such as John Jefferson. Malone later went on to star for the Pittsburgh Steelers and is now a television sports commentator. Jefferson became a first-round draft choice of the San Diego Chargers and starred for several years.

Jefferson also was the player who made "The Catch" in 1975 that helped ASU beat Arizona 24-21 and preserve a 12-0 season.

But that's another story that Wilbur fans don't want to hear.

According to an Aug. 29, 1974, edition of the Payson Roundup, 3,000 spectators watched the Sun Devil scrimmage and 1,500 feasted at a barbecue sponsored by the Payson Lions Club.

For unknown reasons, the scrimmage on PHS field was moved to the Tontozona practice field, where it continues to attract thousands of Devils' disciples.

I once asked coach Kush why the tradition of playing at PHS was ended. He said he didn't know, but always enjoyed the experience of bringing the team to the school.

Before next season, Payson High School football home-team seating will be expanded to hold as many as 3,000 spectators. Wouldn't it be a plus for the school and community to try to return the ASU scrimmage to Longhorn field?

Football help needed

The Payson Youth Football Association is in need of a commissioner to oversee the workings of the organization. It is a volunteer position. Call Eric Santana at 474-1775 for more information.

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