The first practice for Monday's Casino del Sol College All-Star Game was more of a cram session than workout. For two hours on a back field at the Kino Sports Complex, 90 college seniors wearing second-hand UA practice jerseys went over formations, blocking schemes and strategy.
Putting together a game plan on five days' notice is easy; implementing it isn't.
The Casino del Sol College All-Star Game, formerly known as the Blue-Gray Game and the Eastham Energy All-Star Classic, serves as the first postseason showcase for draft-eligible seniors. Before the teams can take the field, however, they must get on the same page. The Stars and Stripes have just three more workouts before Monday night's game at Kino Stadium.
"It's tough," said Houston Nutt, the former Arkansas and Ole Miss coach who's running the Stars team this week. "But you'll be surprised at what they latch on to and how quick they catch on because they want to please and they want to perform. You always worry about things, like the center-quarterback exchange, but today was a good day."
With weather in the mid-60s and representatives from every NFL team packing a sideline at the Kino Sports Complex, it had to be.
LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee, Tulsa signal-caller G.J. Kinne and Colorado running back Rodney Stewart stood out on a day long on drills and short on scrimmaging. Eleven former UA and Arizona State players practiced with the Stripes.
The showcase is extra special to Boise State linebacker Aaron Tevis, who grew up in Tucson and attended Canyon del Oro High School.
Tevis is trying to catch the attention of pro scouts; at 6 feet 3 inches and 235 pounds, he passes the eye test.
"I haven't had many close games, so this is definitely exciting for me," he said. The game "is another chance for people to get out and enjoy college football, and a chance for them to see some underrated players and what they can do."
The learning curve is steep, Tevis admitted, but not impossible.
"If everybody's focused and trying to get better, you can get a lot done," he said.
• What: Casino del Sol College All-Star Game
• Where: Kino Stadium
• When: 6 p.m. Monday
• TV: FSAZ