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story.lead_photo.caption Arkansas State head football coach Blake Anderson is shown in this photo. - Photo by Mitchell PE Masilun

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Blake Anderson batted the idea down quickly.

The tallest peak of the Santa Catalina Mountains, the backdrop for Arkansas State University's scenic final full practice of the season Thursday, stands 9,000 feet tall and has stared at the Red Wolves since they began their Arizona-based practices for the Arizona Bowl at Salpointe Catholic High School in northeast Tucson.

Two days before their 12:15 p.m. Central kickoff Saturday against Nevada at Arizona Stadium, salivating for a mountain-climbing challenge they cannot get in Jonesboro, ASU's players told Anderson they were going to hike the 9,000 feet of elevation.

That, Anderson said, was not going to happen.

"They've had a good time," ASU's coach said. "It's been a good time. It's been a good trip."

Under a sunny, 50-degree Tucson sun, the Red Wolves held their final full practice Thursday afternoon before holding a closed 30-minute walk-through at Arizona Stadium today.

Gallery: ASU Arizona Bowl Week

Because bowl games allow a larger travel contingent than typical road games, ASU's full team, except a handful of ineligible transfers made the trip to Tucson for the Arizona Bowl.

"Everybody that you expect to play is here," he said. "Everybody is eligible. Didn't have to leave anybody at home. Haven't sent anybody home. I threatened to, but ..."

Arkansas State quarterback Justice Hansen (right) runs through a drill Thursday as the Red Wolves continue preparations for their matchup against the Nevada Wolf Pack in the Arizona Bowl in Tucson, Ariz. For more photos, visit arkansasonline.com/galleries.
Arkansas State quarterback Justice Hansen (right) runs through a drill Thursday as the Red Wolves continue preparations for their matchup against the Nevada Wolf Pack in the Arizona Bowl in Tucson, Ariz. For more photos, visit arkansasonline.com/galleries.

Members of ASU's scout team even made the trip to southeast Arizona and have donned their usual lime green practice jerseys this week. The scout team's trip to the desert is a reward for participating in all practices throughout the season but not playing in a live game.

"That's the deal about the bowl game," Anderson said. "Non-travel, scout guys get to come, too. Everybody gets to come. How else do you reward a kid that played scout team all year long other than take him to a bowl game, get him some bowl gifts and let him have a good time."

The Red Wolves visited Diamond Children's Medical Center on Thursday morning, including players, members of ASU's spirit squad and Howl, the school's mascot.

The Red Wolves and Wolf Pack gathered together for the first time Thursday night at Old Tucson Studios, an old movie set used to shoot western classics like the television series Bonanza and films Arizona and Rio Bravo.

Following a busy Thursday, ASU's day today will be much different.

"[Friday's] going to be about getting ready," Anderson told the Red Wolves as they closed practice Thursday.

Mason Roberts, 6, of Sierra Vista, Ariz., takes some time out of his leukemia treatment Thursday to dance for Arkansas State football players and cheerleaders during the Red Wolves’ visit to Diamond Children’s Medical Center in Tucson, Ariz.
Mason Roberts, 6, of Sierra Vista, Ariz., takes some time out of his leukemia treatment Thursday to dance for Arkansas State football players and cheerleaders during the Red Wolves’ visit to Diamond Children’s Medical Center in Tucson, Ariz.

Sports on 12/28/2018

Print Headline: Red Wolves partaking in plenty of practice, fun

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