NEWBERRY, S.C. - After the second practice session of the 2008 football preseason in shirts and shorts, the coaching staff of the Newberry College football team is sure of one thing.
It's hot. Really hot. 112 degrees on Setzler Field hot.
"It was 112 degrees by the end of practice, and I thought they did an excellent job working through that," head coach Zak Willis said. "Their focus was really good and our coaches are doing a great of job pushing them. It's a really positive environment right now."
Offensive Coordinator Todd Varn:
"With almost all of the guys having a year in the system, there's a lot of things that we're more comfortable calling after practicing in the spring," Varn said. "There's a lot of recall and we don't have to spend as much time on how to execute the offense. It also helps having every coach back. I think that means a lot to have the same coaches coaching the kids the same way as last year.
"Tharry Salley looks really good right now. He's stepped up and is becoming a leader after moving from his backup role last year to a starting role this year. The quarterback position is going to be a battle. It will be right until the end until we decide on who our starter is. Brandon Gantt and Eric McCollom are each having great days. In my eyes, there's not much of a gap there. We're looking for our third guy, and there's some batlles there."
Defensive Coordinator Todd Knight:
"I think right now in shirts and shorts, we're real pretty," Knight said. "The bad thing about that is for our defense, I want to look ugly. I want to be nasty, so for right now we're too pretty for me. I want to put the pads on and I think the kids are itching to put the pads on. I think we've got a very talented group and our execution looks very good at this point.
"Our linebacking corps, both inside and outside, looks good. We've got about eight seniors there, so they should look good. Our secondary is excellent at this point. At defensive line, we had some question marks coming out of the spring, but if the past two days in shorts are any indication, we're going to be better than I expected.
"As far as the heat goes, there's no question that they've responded like champions. This morning in conditioning, I was actually shocked at how well we ran."