UA Wildcats football
Fans meet Wildcats at UA scrimmage
Steve Weber and Matt Cottrell stepped onto the football field on every Saturday as members of the University of Arizona marching band during the mid-1990s. The 1995 alumni have long since hung up their trombones, but continue coming to Arizona Stadium as fans in the stands, despite relocating to Phoenix after graduation.
"It's great coming back to Tucson and sharing a football game with my family," Cottrell said. "It reminds me of my times back in college."
Weber and Cottrell, who roomed together in college, were one of three generations of Arizona football fans that sat in the bleachers on Meet the Team night at Arizona Stadium on Saturday. The day marked the 20-year anniversary of Weber first setting foot in Arizona Stadium, when his father Gary brought him there.
"My experience at the University of Arizona was fantastic, so I brought my sons (Jack and Tommy) out tonight to teach them a bit about Wildcat football," Weber said.
During the event, fans watched a team scrimmage, the final one before the season opener. Afterward, the team had a meet-and-greet session, where fans talked with the players and sought Wildcat autographs. Approximately 7,000 people attended.
"UA fans are very loyal, zealous people," Cottrell said. "You know, we moved up to Phoenix, the heart of (Arizona State University) Sun Devil Nation, and the fans there are much more fair weather. So it's great being back."
Cottrell's wife Laurie, also a 1995 Arizona alumnus, met her husband at a UA business fraternity in 1994. The two married in 1998.
"There's such a comradery between UA fans," Laurie said. "You walk onto campus, and everyone smiles at you and says, 'Hi,' even if it's old folks with kids when it's all college kids walking around. They are still nice to you and welcoming."
"There's just that feeling. We drive into Tucson and hit Campbell (Avenue), and we know that we're home. And we love sharing that with our kids."
Matt and Laurie have a son Shaun and a daughter Ainsley. The Cottrell family has attended Meet the Team Night for the last four years.
In addition to the alumni, current UA students were also out in droves at Meet the Team Night. Three freshmen Arizona baseball players – David Schuknecht, Tyler Parmenter and Luke Sutton – really liked what they saw from the Wildcats on Saturday.
Sutton was most impressed by Taimi Tutogi, 20-year-old junior halfback for the Wildcats. Tutogi ran for 35 yards on 6 carries on Saturday.
"That guy's fun to watch, so I'm looking forward to seeing more of him," Sutton said. "They also have a really well-thought-out defense. I like their schemes."
The Arizona defense combined for four interceptions – two by Trevin Wade – and 11 stops on Saturday. They allowed over 400 yards, but did hold the offense to two third-down conversions.
"The defense really took care of business tonight," Schuknecht said. "You know, a lot of people aren't giving the UA football team a lot of credit, and I know some of the players personally and how much they work their asses off, so I think they're going to have a great year."
Matt Cottrell's wife Laurie most enjoyed watching the guy in the pocket.
"I am really impressed with Matt Scott," she said. "He moves really well and is very quick. He's the kind of quarterback that makes football exciting to watch."
The Arizona offense scored two 37-yard field goals and a touchdown, manufactured by a Nick Foles-Juron Criner 39-yard connection.
The Wildcats face Northern Arizona in their season opener on Sept. 3 at Arizona Stadium.