By David Merrill
MARSHALL-The Southwest Minnesota State football team donned helmets for the first time Friday and got into live drills as part of their first day of training camp.
Photo by David Merrill
Running backs coach Billy VandeMerkt talks through strategy with runningbacks, from left, Ashanti Payne, Davontay Stevens and Tyler Tonderum during a break in the action at the first day of training camp Friday.
One of the main things Sauter noticed was the energy level, which is what he expected it to be on the first day.
"You have a lot of energy in your first practice," Sauter said. "They've been itching all summer to get back out here and their fresh legs and everything else. Energy level shouldn't be a question. When we get to practice five, six and seven, the question is how enthusiastic are we going to be to get better?"
Another area Sauter focused on was schematics and fitting people in the right spots.
This is an area that will continue to be a work in progress as camp goes along.
First day jitters didn't escape everybody.
"The main thing for us is understanding where we need to be, how we're going to do things," Sauter said. "Schematically, we're going to have a lot of mistakes on the first day. I told the guys we need to make mistakes now, so we don't make them in our first game against (University of) Mary."
Making mistakes in training camp allows the coaching staff to get the errors on film and work on correcting them before the season opener.
The team worked on a lot of drop back passing drils and allowed wide receivers to get some one-on-one matchups with the cornerbacks and safeties.
Doing these allowed the wideouts to continue to hone their route running skills and its something that Sauter felt was one of the brigher areas.
"They did a nice job," Sauter said. "A lot of them have played some reps in some capacity. This is the second year going through the system. Ultimately, we are going to have some guys emerge and see who our starters are going to be."
At the end of the day, Sauter called it an even draw and is looking forward to seeing more guys battle it out for positions in day two.
"There's times where, defensively, they made some nice plays and offensively, we created some lanes for our runningbacks. It was pretty much a wash today. Offensively and defensively, both sides made some nice plays."