Is the annual Blue and Gold Aggie football scrimmage a thing of the past?
Head coach Ron Gould explained to me why UC Davis didn’t have one this summer — and pondered whether it will be back in 2015:
“We’ll see when that time comes,” the second-year mentor said. “We won’t rule anything out. I know it’s hard for the fans to understand (why there wasn’t one). We have guys dinged up so we wanted to give ourselves an opportunity, for as long as possible, to be able to heal and have those guys (ready for Stanford).”
On Saturday, an open-to-the-public tune-up begins at 10:15 a.m. It will consist of what Gould calls “game-day routine.” His charges will get used to pre-game stretching, workouts, then run live plays interrupted by halftime protocol, then back out on the field.
Saturday is guaranteed to be interesting, but next year these open workouts could bring the fans even closer — and get some additional UCD faithful in the stands.
So how to pump up the volume at next season’s Aggie summer camp?
If there are three scrimmages (like this year), let’s bring back the Blue and Gold “game” as the one large public event.
Make the announcements at the beginning of the season as to what three dates are open to all fans.
Hand out rosters at those sessions so fans can follow who is doing what.
At least during the Blue and Gold outing, have Larry Swanson, the voice of the Aggies, on the public address system to point out the highlights of the practice. If there are stations, maybe Swanson or a team member could supply PA explanation of what’s happening in those drills.
Of course, there should be at least one concession stand open. Fans should be constantly reminded at these workouts of where to buy single-game and season tickets: “Available today at the nearby Box Office.”
We need someone on hand selling Aggie gear; maybe a commemorative T-shirt that says “I Got a Sneak Peek” with UCD football printed prominently on the back. When worn to a game, maybe the shirt makes that fan eligible for a small walk-up discount on general-admission tickets (or drawings or who knows what?).
The Blue and Gold scrimmage deserves the Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh in a shake-down cruise for the regular season.
And don’t forget about 10 minutes of post-session interviews with Gould and selected players — maybe the Radio Voice of the Aggies Scott Marsh can do those, broadcast throughout the stadium.
And a chance to get autographs? Now that kids will know the players, they can go talk to their favorites after the workout and get that T-shirt signed.
Just some thoughts, but what fun it would be to take some of the monthlong summer camp time to get to know our new wave football program and its players even better.
While I Have You Here: With the first Causeway Cup contest going on Friday (Aggie and Hornet women are playing soccer in the evening), it dawned on me: Shouldn’t Davis Mayor Dan Wolk and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson make a bet on the school-year-long rivalry?
Knowing these two guys, they could come up with something clever — and each should make appearances together for some good-natured sports talk (halftime of basketball games?) about their bet and allegiance to their hometowns’ Division I schools.
I spent Wednesday night at the Positive Coaching Alliance of Sacramento annual awards dinner and heard Johnson, 49er Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, and baseball’s Dusty Baker and Jerry Manuel talk about the influence that PCA programs have had throughout the land. It is a terrific organization.
But as solid as Lott and Johnson were addressing the sellout audience at Sacramento State, it was local PCA President and KFBK/ESPN talent Bill Herenda (former sidekick of radio’s Marsh and Doug Kelly on UCD basketball and football broadcasts) with the line of the night …
While positive coaching has many nuances that suggest a deeper approach to mentoring — one that urges athletes to be complete citizens — it also strives to instill competitive and hard-nosed participation.
Said Herenda: “It is said ‘the meek shall inherit the earth.’ But they’re never going to win conference.”
Anyway, Johnson, Wolk … You’re up. What’s the bet?
— Bruce Gallaudet is a staff writer for The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at [email protected] or 530-320-4456.