Pregame ceremony will pay tribute to Wildcat seniors

By Craig Sanders

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Fans will have a chance to honor the seniors on the University of Arizona football team before their final home appearance at Saturday's game against the University of Oregon. Players will be joined by their families in a short pregame ceremony on the football field, and for many players it will be an emotional time. For fans, it is not only the end of seeing some of these men in Wildcat uniforms, but in many ways it is the end of an era in Wildcat football.

No longer will Wildcat players Tedy Bruschi, Brandon Sanders, Dan White, Mani Ott, Thomas Demps, Joey Branch, Charlie Camp, Jeff Chiasson, Robert Coulter, Cary Taylor, Mike Metzler, Bryan Hand, Tim Thomas, Jon Prasuhn, Chuck Mahoney, Chuck Osborne and Shawn Parnell play in front of the home crowd at Arizona Stadium.

"A senior's last game, as you can imagine, is a very emotional time," UA Head Coach Dick Tomey said. "And this is a very precious group. They've meant a lot to the University of Arizona."

The success of this group may be unparralleled in UA football history. The graduating class has only 17 seniors, many of them not starters, but Tomey said each has made tremendous contributions to the program. The graduating Wildcats have the most wins in the Pacific 10 Conference in the last four years and have gone to more consecutive bowl games three than any other UA class. As the last game approaches, the Wildcat players are trying to keep some of the focus that brought them that success.

"Probably when it is over that is when it will start meaning anything," Sanders said. "Right now I'm just trying to stay real focused and go out there and lead by example.

The honors will not be just for the team's all-stars, such as Bruschi and Sanders, but for every member of the team. Tomey said football is about going out and playing as hard as you can, not just about being all-conference.

Said Sanders, "It might be a teary-eyed for a little bit, but we still have to go out there and battle for 60 minutes. Yes, this is my final game at Arizona Stadium, but it's not my final game as a Wildcat."

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