There were 29 new players at practice today, five of which are on scholarship: Terry Hunter, Barrington Edwards, Chris Curry, Xavier Rainey, and Ronnie Bryant. Per NCAA guidelines they must go the first two practices in helmet and shorts and the next two in half-pads before they can go full pads/contact on the fifth practice. It has yet to be determined whether Hunter will play or red-shirt this year due to the practice time he's missed to address some personal issues.
After two-a-days and practice without classes, practice was shortened on the first day of classes. Practice will also be shortened on Thursday and Friday.
According to Bunting, senior safety Gerald Sensabaugh, a transfer from ETSU, is all they have expected and more. "He's extremely athletic, he has great quickness, and he's a great knee-bender," Bunting said, "so he's able to take on blockers and shed them. He has very good force angles, and he has a nose for the football."
After missing time in spring practice, offensive lineman Brian Chacos has been looking well. "He's a guy that can play at any given moment," Bunting said. "He could possibly start… When we get to game week, I think he'll be full go."
Quarterback Darian Durant feels like the team is in a good position, compared to where they need to be, leading up to the first game. "I think we're right on track," he said. "We've had a great camp, and practices get better everyday. They are more and more competitive. The main thing is that we are a lot further ahead than we have been the last couple of years."
Durant says that he's in the best shape of his career, and he's been working on his footwork. Those are two things he concentrated on in the off-season because it allows him to be a bigger threat running the ball.
This August hasn't been as hot as in years past, and Ronnie McGill has had cramping problems in the heat. Durant says that the entire team might need a few hot days leading up to the mid-afternoon kick-off against William and Mary.
In spite of all the shuffling around on defense to find the right personnel, Durant says that the defense has stood out more this year than in the past. "You can tell they are really gelling together--coming together as a unit" he said. "They are learning their schemes a lot more now, so they can add more things. They have given us a ton of different looks now and causing a little confusion."
According to Durant, the seniors on the team are the driving force on this years team, not taking anything for granted. "We are so thankful for the opportunities we have to play football at this level," he said. "Jason [Brown] and I and a bunch of the seniors realize that we are in a special place, a special situation, and we need to take advantage of it. It takes hard work. It takes voluntary [workouts] to get better and take this program to the level we want."