On the first day of training camp, Coach Cutcliffe repeatedly talked about finishing. Yet the team got an early start at camp. Getting up at four o’clock in the morning sounds like something a farmer would do. Getting up before sunrise to start football? That sounds like training camp time.
“Practice starts at six [as in p.m.], but we’ve been up since four just doing meetings, pretty much, and some basic medical forms,” receiver Max McCaffrey said.
Safety Dwayne Norman said he was in bed extra early the night before.
“We were up at four o’clock this morning. I haven’t done that all summer, so that was kind of hard for me to do,” he said with a smile. “But you’ve got to do it.”
But no one was complaining about the early start time.
“I actually woke up at 3:30 before my alarm clock, so it wasn’t too bad,” quarterback Brandon Connette said.
The toughest part of the first day of training camp is different for every player. For some of the older guys, herding the bright-eyed freshman to the correct places can be the toughest part of camp.
“Just getting them to where they need to be during practice,” Connette said with a hint of a smile. “That’s probably the hardest part, getting yelled at. Because we’ll get yelled at for where they are on the field, so we’ve got to keep tabs on them at all times.”
Earlier this summer, veteran guard Dave Harding compared freshmen in training camp to baby giraffes trying to walk. Quarterback Anthony Boone said it’s hard to make sure guys stay focused.
“Guys are real ‘geeked’ up, real happy,” he said. “Freshman are going to see a lot of people out, a lot of cameras…We are a very fast tempo team. We are running from here to here and drill to drill. So, it’s just keeping those locked in and keeping those guys focused for 15-16 periods.”
Sophomore safety Dwayne Norman said training camp is tough because your mindset changes.
“It’s just wrapping your mind around that you’re going to be in camp for two weeks,” he said. “The summer is just workouts. I guess that’s the hardest thing, to wrap your mind around it.”
At his press conference, Coach Cutcliffe talked about the era of two-a-days being almost over. With meetings all day and practice in the evening, the players are ready to trample some turf.
“We haven’t been out there yet today, looking forward to that,” Max McCaffrey said.
“I’m ready to get on the field,” running back Jela Duncan said. “I’ve been ready to get on the field since the summer began.”