The Charleston Southern football team strapped on the pads for the first time in its 2012 fall camp on Wednesday morning on the CSU practice field.
The Buccaneers were out in the early South Carolina heat on Wednesday morning, moving around from station to station as the team ran through various drills and exercises before closing out with a short full 11-on-11 practice and several red zone stands.
"We're still young, still growing, but there was a lot of enthusiasm as we got into the one-on-one drills this morning," commented head coach Jay Mills after practice. "The work ethic of the group has been very good. We've thrown a lot at the players mentally and pushed through a very quick practice pace to try to get our minds to catch up to our bodies going full speed."
The defense started strong in the beginning of the 11-on-11 drills, disrupting the CSU passing game in the early going, but the offense turned it around late in getting the ball into the end zone several times during the red zone drills.
Several players were excited about the opportunity to put on the pads for the first time this fall, including redshirt sophomore linebacker Gabe Middlebrook and redshirt junior defensive lineman Will Hunt.
"It feels real good, I've been training all summer in the weight room working hard and you can see great improvement from everyone," said Middlebrook. "Hunt, Cornelius Sterling, all these guys have come out hard and it's showing on the field. I'm looking forward to the first game and working on my footwork to help both myself and the team get better."
"It was a beautiful day out here," commented Hunt. "It felt good to put the pads on and hit someone for the first time since April. It gets intense going 11-on-11 with no pads, but the camaraderie you build with the team every day, it's like a brotherhood out here. We're growing closer and closer as a team, we hope to have a great season this year, but we still have a lot of work to do."
The Bucs open the 2012 season in three weeks (Sept. 1) at The Citadel. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. at Johnson Haygood Stadium.