By Eric Wein

Arizona Daily Wildcat

CAMP COCHISE Welcome to the middle of nowhere.

On the drive toward Douglas along Highway 80 two miles north of the Mexican border in southeastern Arizona, a cluster of buildings sit on the left side of the road.

Good luck finding the nearest Circle K..

Every August for the past 12 years, the Arizona football team has packed up its equipment and made the trip to Cochise College for training camp. It's where they play, discuss, watch and think football for a week to prepare for their upcoming season.

There is little to distract them from football, unless bragging rights around the pool table count.

From the time they wake up at 6 a.m. to when they go to bed, it's mostly football, football, football.

"There are no luxuries here," offensive tackle Joe Smigiel said. "No women, no parties. I mean, north ... south ... east ... west there's nothing but desert."

On their way to the cafeteria after morning practice last Friday, the players looked forward to simple things lunch and a nap.

"It's all right when you first get here," safety Tony Bouie said. "but it starts wearing on you in a hurry."

When they're not on the field, they hang out with each other, often playing pool, dominoes or chess to pass time.

"We make phone calls, we sit around and joke a bit about what's happened on the field that day. We play video games," safety Brandon Sanders said. "Almost everybody's got a Walkman. You have flashbacks to football, but you get away from it once in a while."

There isn't enough time to get bored since there are just two hours of free time at night. Then, it's lights out.

Between practice and free time are meetings with coaches and film review.

"We do the same routine day in and day out," defensive end Tedy Bruschi said. "We realize it's tough but it's something we have to do. We have to get our reps in and get our young guys situated."

The team had two-a-day practices in Tucson before leaving. Camp Cochise was the first time they had practiced in pads this season. The team returned to Tucson last Sunday and yesterday marked the end of their two-a-day schedule, which had been going for two weeks.

The seniors felt little remorse in leaving. Most likely it was their last visit.

"I'm just waiting to board the bus and leave," right guard Warner Smith said two days before the end of camp, "because I'll never have to come back." Read Next Article