The annual 21-day push toward the regular season began Thursday for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Bulldogs.
In just three weeks, this group of talented sophomores and improving freshmen will take the field at home against Northeast Mississippi. Between now and then, head football coach Chad Huff and his staff will fine tune the 2014 squad.
It was all about getting up to speed during Thursday's practice. For many Bulldog freshmen, first day mistakes were the norm.
"Today I saw a team taking care of one another," Huff said. "We're learning how to come together and learning the speed of the game. This is all part of the process. Everything we do is at full speed."
Gulf Coast is coming off an 8-2 season that included a seventh straight trip to the post season. The 2014 team is ranked No. 9 in the JCGridiron.com "Dirty 30" preseason poll. The NJCAA preseason poll debuts next week.
"To play college football, you've got to be locked in mentally," Huff said. "Today we battled through the first day and we had some guys making plays."
Meanwhile, Huff and the Bulldogs coaching staff have made a few adjustments.
Assistant coach Neil Broussard moves from running backs coach to defensive line coach after the departure of Dorsett Davis, who has accepted a high school coaching job in Jackson.
Broussard, a former Gulf Coast offensive lineman who was a part of the 2007 NJCAA National Championship squad, is entering his third season with the Bulldogs.
Joining the Gulf Coast coaching staff is running backs coach Earvin Moore, who also played at Gulf Coast from 2007-08 and served one season as the team's running backs coach in 2011.