- Associated Press - Thursday, August 25, 2011

FLAGSTAFF, ARIZ. (AP) - With whoops and hollers from players, the Arizona Cardinals have wrapped up their final training camp workout and headed south to the desert.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt called it “probably one of the most interesting camps” he’s experienced, given the cramped work schedule following the end of the NFL labor dispute. When the camp began, 52 of the 91 players were new to the team.

The Cardinals train annually among the pines at Northern Arizona University, where the 7,000-foot elevation aids in conditioning.

Arizona plays its home preseason opener Saturday night against the San Diego Chargers. The Cardinals have announced the game is sold out.

The players zipped off the field for the 2 1/2-hour drive down Interstate 17.

“They’re ready to go,” Whisenhunt said, “ready to get back to the routine of in-season, with their families, and I can’t blame them.”

Back in the Phoenix area, the Cardinals will be faced with searing heat. Wednesday’s high in Phoenix was 114 degrees.

While the games are played in air-conditioned comfort with the University of Phoenix Stadium’s roof closed, practices at the team’s Tempe training facility are another matter. Whisenhunt brushed it off as business as usual.

“You know what, we’ve faced heat every year,” he said. “We’ll do what we can to make it work.”

The team has giant fans on the sideline to cool the players during practice. Another option is to use Arizona State University’s practice dome.

The experience in Flagstaff was new to many players, including starting left guard Daryn Colledge, who played last season for the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.

“Obviously had a little bit different camp this year with it being so short with the preseason stuff,” he said. “It was a little different. Everything seemed kind of condensed, but I think we got a lot of good work done.”

As for the elevation?

“I think it’s a nice advantage,” Colledge said. “I think it helps us out as a team. It gets us ready to get down in that sea level stuff. And you can’t argue with the scenery. It’s a beautiful place to have camp.”

The Cardinals‘ last two preseason games, both at home, come just five days apart.

Story Continues →