The only thing Jedd Fisch lost on Saturday afternoon was the water balloon fight he had with the Arizona students on the sidelines at Arizona Stadium. The rest, well, was a splash.
It’s clear that Fisch has put the FUN back into the fundamentals when it comes to Arizona football. It was a world record-breaking weekend for the Wildcats. Literally.
From Gronk’s epic – 620-foot catch of a football out of helicopter – to the 5,000 or so sunbaked fans in Arizona Stadium, it was like no Arizona Spring Game that I remember. Heck, it beat the alternative of the past few hum drum years.
“Have fun, stay healthy and compete,” Fisch said when asked what he hoped to accomplish at Saturday’s Spring Game. “Have fun was probably No. 2 behind stay healthy.”
By all accounts Arizona did. Oh, by the way, Team Gronk beat Team Bruschi 17-13.
How Saturday’s game – and the 14 spring practices that preceded it – translates into wins in four-plus months is anyone’s guess.
But what Fisch has done is sell the community on a brand of football that hasn’t been here in some time: deep bonds, deep friendships and digging deep down to find an intestinal fortitude the players might not think they have.
“He’s making skeptics believers every single day,” Stanley Berryhill said. “I can see it.”
So far, Fisch knows what to say and do and well, everyone is buying it hook, line and sinker.
“I think people are starting to recognize what we really want to get done here,” Fisch said. “The energy level, the excitement and enthusiasm. We’re taking steps in the right direction.”
Who knows? Maybe this will be Arizona’s new Spring Fling – where ex-guys come in and celebrate the program and watch the current guys fling it. Maybe?
Couldn’t hurt. Arizona footballs needs a dose of enthusiasm from and for everyone.
“Every year we have to figure out what we want to do,” Fisch said. “One of our core mottos is we want to be proficiant and original. We don’t want to replicate or duplicate with the things we’ve done before but we want to interact the best we can in these situations.”
What’s important to the future of the program and the incoming players is that they see one that has “energy, enthusiasm and joy.”
As Isaiah Rutherford said after the game, “the last 48 hours have been fun.” And that from a player who came from Notre Dame. Still, Arizona has a long way to go – if it ever will – get to Notre Dame’s level, but you have to start somewhere.
What Stanley Berryhill said about the last 48 hours was finding out the alums “have our back and being here supporting us.”
Fans, players, coaches, recruits all notice that. It builds programs. And, well, it creates enthusiasm for incoming players.
“He’s done a great job of realizing the kids he has to reach are 16, 17, 18 years old,” said Tedy Bruschi said about Fisch’s method of reaching to the community and beyond. “A good coach recognizes the sign of the times. And how a program has to change. That’s one of his greatest qualities. He’s able to see things.”