NEWBERRY, S.C. - Newberry College football made its first strides toward what coaches expect to be a successful fall today, having wrapped up their first practice. Head coach Zak Willis was in good spirits about the team's first showing.
"Practice is going really well. We had [a few players with] some issues due to the heat, but nothing major," Willis recounted. "The attitudes of all the guys are really good."
Of the 105 players who reported for camp on Tuesday, only 20 were newcomers. The experience factor of the 85 returnees was another reason for Willis' optimism.
"It's very early, of course, but both sides of the ball looked really good. The offensive line, the defensive backs ... On the linebackers, we have a very solid first team, with quality depth behind them. Our defensive line is very young, so we'll have to wait and see there."
Back to the subject of offense, most fans are curious about the status of record-setting quarterback Josh Stepp (Pelion, S.C.), who enters the season as a preseason first team All-SAC selection. Another season like the 2004 campaign should secure postseason accolades as well.
"Josh Stepp looked like he was in mid-season form," Willis said in the telephone interview, as one could almost hear the smile in his voice.
The team holds another closed practice this afternoon.
Fans and media will get their first look at the 2005 Indians on Sunday, August 21, on media day and Fan Appreciation Day. The meet-and-greet session lasts from 1 to 2 p.m. The first 500 fans in attendance will receive a full-size schedule poster featuring five players who will figure prominently into game plans this season.
Continue to visit www.newberryindians.com for the latest news on Indian athletics.