By: Delvin Alexander
Athletics Communications Student Assistant
On Saturday, April 22, UC Davis football began its final spring practice on Howard Field as part of this year’s Picnic Day. Alumni, players, coaches, families and friends attended the first-ever Picnic Day Practice and Kids Fest, an event modeled after the way the football team conducted practice during the Division II era when fans were able to watch the team workout just a few yards away from the players and coaches.
To allow parents the opportunity to watch practice, and give their children a fun way to spend the afternoon, a kids zone filled with inflatables and games was set up next to the field. After practice, players ran drills and interacted with the kids, signed autographs and took pictures with everyone who attended.
The actual practice consisted of 1v1 drills between wide receivers and defensive backs, 7-on-7 drills between offensive and defensive linemen, 1v1 lineman-specific drills and situational plays involving the entire team. Throughout practice, various on-field competitions for giveaways took place, and Scott Marsh, the event’s PA announcer, interviewed players.
Said defensive lineman Nick Fehrenbach, “you can feel all the energy from fans, kids and alums on the field. It’s fun to see the community, alumni, current players and coaches out here interacting with one another.”
Regarding this new tradition, safety Keleen Culberson said, “it is a honor to interact with past Aggie legends. When I asked Sam Young if this brought back memories, his face lit up. He stopped for a moment and became a little emotional.”
This event was a time for the players to be a part of history, and continue a tradition that head coach Dan Hawkins experienced firsthand during the team’s Division II years. By allowing players to interact with the fans and build a stronger bond with the community it represents, the team now has a deeper understanding about Aggie Pride and the program’s rich history.