Pigskinpalooza to allow students, football players to interact

Since Todd Graham’s flight landed in Tempe on the morning of Dec. 14, 2011, the ASU football coach has stressed the importance of interacting with the community.

Graham and his players have held meet-and-greet sessions with various groups in the Valley and following Thursday’s practice at Sun Devil Stadium, ASU students will have the unique opportunity to take the field with the 2012 football team.

All students with a valid ASU ID can attend the first ever Sun Devil Pigskinpalooza event with a guest.

“There’s something coach Graham talks to our players about all the time, and that’s not being takers, (but) being givers,” senior Associate Athletic Director of Football Tim Cassidy said. “We wanted to have an opportunity for our players to give something back to the student body that comes to the games and supports them … It will be an opportunity for young men and young ladies that are students here to come and throw passes to our receivers, catch passes from our quarterbacks, kick field goals and go through some of the drills that our players do with the coaches.”

Students are invited to attend practice, which is scheduled to run from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Following practice, the players will be broken up into position groups to interact with the students for approximately 45 minutes.

Graham will then speak to the entire group and a screening of “The Blind Side” will be shown around 8 p.m. In addition to simply having the unique opportunity to interact with the Sun Devils on Frank Kush Field, ASU students will also have the chance to win prizes and receive giveaways and free food from local businesses.

“I think it’s going to be great,” redshirt senior linebacker Brandon Magee said. “It gives us the opportunity to let (students) know that we’re just regular guys. We can have fun too … It’s going to be like a huge party on the football field. I can’t wait.”

The ASU football program showed a movie on the field last season, but there was no interaction with the players. More than 300 students attended last year’s event, and the program is hoping for a greater turnout this season.

“It’s something about coach Graham,” Cassidy said. “He’s all about the collegiate experience. This is something you wouldn’t do in the NFL. You might not even do it in high school. This is special. I think it’s an opportunity for us to give back.”

Knowing how unique the opportunity is, Magee hopes a lot of students take advantage of the opportunity and show up for the event.

“I hope everybody comes out,” Magee said. “We need two fields full of girls and guys.”

Reach the reporter at william.boor@asu.edu

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