Those motorcycles that wound their way through the Rim country Saturday morning were on their way to Flagstaff to cheer on the Arizona Cardinals in an afternoon preseason practice.
The event, the Fourth Annual Rock 'n' Roll Ride to Flagstaff, drew about 400 riders and was sponsored by Phoenix radio stations KSLX-FM and KDUS-AM.
The ride began at 8 a.m. in Gilbert and continued along the Beeline Highway to Payson and Flagstaff.
After a barbecue lunch in NAU's Walkup Skydome, the riders watched the Cardinal's afternoon practice session before returning to their Valley homes.
Marmie set to coach
Some of the really good news coming out of Flagstaff is that genuine nice guy Larry Marmie is entering his first full season as the Cardinals' defensive coordinator.
The former Arizona State University head coach (1988 to 1991) once spotted a Payson High School football team watching a Sun Devil preseason practice at Camp Tontozona. Like the gentleman he is, Marmie turned over the coaching duties to his assistants and walked over to the Longhorn team. There he talked at length to the young men and the coaches. Not a question or query went unanswered. He also encouraged the players to continue their football careers, invited them to Sun Devil games and stressed the importance of doing well in their academic studies.
It's not many Division I coaches that will take time out of their busy practice schedules to visit with a group of high school kids.
During Marmie's head coaching career at ASU, he posted a 22-21-1 record and coached former Payson resident Scott Veach who became an All-Pac-10 tight end.
From 1985 to 1987, Marmie was ASU's defensive coordinator and was part of the Sun Devils Pac-10 conference championship team that defeated Michigan in the Rose Bowl.
Also in Flagstaff for the Cardinals is a new offensive coordinator.
Rich Olson replaces Marc Tressman who shouldered much of the blame for the Cardinals inept offense that produced only 201 points last season.
Olson has said he will completely revamp the team's offense.
A 25-year coaching veteran, Olson comes to the Cardinals from Washington, where he was the quarterbacks' coach the past two seasons.
He has worked under some of football's most acclaimed coaches including Lou Holtz, John Robinson and Dennis Erickson.
Another new coach
Steve Saban, 30, made his Payson High School coaching debut Monday evening at the Longhorn Football Camp.
The newly-appointed PHS coach, who formerly coached at San Carlos High School, headed the camp that will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily until Aug. 2. Saban replaced Mike Wheelis who resigned last spring after one year as the Longhorn's head coach.