Red, White Scrimmage Is Saturday

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The hills will be alive with the excitement of a promising redbird season.

It all kicks off at 11:15 a.m. tomorrow, Aug. 2, on the Northern Arizona University practice field where the Arizona Cardinals will hold their annual Red & White fans scrimmage.

Card faithful, most decked out in red and white, will pack the benches, bleachers and hills that surround the field adjacent to Walkup Skydome.

For more than two hours, they'll cheer every play the Cardinals make in a mock scrimmage that will wrap up with a goal line session.

At the conclusion of the scrimmage, fans will grab their pens and cameras, in hopes of getting a glimpse, and possibly autographs, from their favorite players.

Most players are obliging and will hang around long enough to sign.

The word out of Flagstaff is that throughout the week the most considerate of the team members, when it comes to giving autographs, has been Kurt Warner.

After one practice, he stayed 30 minutes longer than his teammates to be sure fans left grinning.

Although the Cards are coming off an 8-8 season and have made the playoffs only once since moving to the Valley from St. Louis, there is a new-found optimism surrounding this year's team.

The confidence and hopefulness might be due to the leadership of second-year coach Ken Whisenhunt and his assistant Russ Grimm.

Whisenhunt has a coach's Super Bowl ring and Grimm has several as a player player, so both thoroughly understand the nuances of professional football.

Although Grimm's expertise is the offensive line, he might provide some input in Whisenhunt's choice of a starting quarterback.

Matt Leinart has been given the starting nod and is tagged as the QB of the future, but he missed much of his rookie season with an injury and was replaced by Warner who played well.

In Flagstaff, all eyes -- including those of the coaching staff and fans -- will be on the two signal callers to see which is capable of pulling the trigger in the Cardinal offense next season.

Arizona begins its preseason schedule Aug. 7 against New Orleans at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN.

Arizona plays at Kansas City Aug. 16, at Oakland Aug. 23 and wraps up the preseason Aug. 29 against Denver.

There is no admission charge to tomorrow's scrimmage in Flagstaff and if it rains, the sessions will move inside Walkup Skydome.

More information on the practice schedule in Flagstaff can be found on the Cardinals' Web site at www.azcardinals.com.

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