As the players ran through their respective drills to begin the arduous process of preparing for the college football season, the rust was apparent.
"We need to get better and sharper in the drills," noted linebacker Justin Leuttgerodt. "I feel most of us hustled well. Some guys were dogging it a bit, but it was the first day. It's always a shock to get out there for the first time and just pick up the practice routine again, but I feel we did okay for the first day."
Luettgerodt has been bothered by injuries since the second he arrived in Provo, but was running with the first team today alongside Cameron Jensen and Aaron Wagner. The spot with the ones is something Luettgerodt earned through off-season workouts. Luettgerodt is ready for the off-season to be over, however.
"Ever since I got here it's been the off-season," remarked Luettgerodt. "I played a bit last fall, but it seems as if it's just been one long off-season and I've had enough of it. It's time to play and play a whole season and win."
Nate Soelberg, Kayle Buchanan, Dustin Gabriel, Quinn Gooch and Spencer White were the starting secondary as fall camp commenced. The starting line consisted of Manaia Brown, Vince Feula and Justin Maddux.
Over on the offensive side, Terrance Brown took over for the injured Travis Bright at right guard.
"We'll miss Travis a lot," commented senior center Lance Reynolds Jr. "But what can you do? We just have to help Terence, Scott Tidwell or whoever gets the spot as much as possible. You just have to move on."
Reynolds is excited by the prospect of having 4 returning starters from a year ago.
"We have Jake [Kuresa] who has more experience than I do, Lunch [Brian Sanders] who I feel very comfortable playing alongside with and Eddie Keele and myself," said Reynolds. "We all know each other and I think we started out pretty well today. We just have to build on that and get better with every practice now."
The team ran 7-7 drills and finished the practice with a light scrimmage.
-Kayle Buchanan showed good speed by staying with Todd Watkins downfield on a couple of fly patterns.
-Todd Watkins did what he does best, beating opposing CBs more often than not on those deep fly routes.
-Michael Morris looked much better than he did in the spring. He made several nice grabs which included a circus grab with Soelberg defending where he had to reach back for the ball, tipping it away from Soelberg, bouncing it off several body parts before making a diving catch.
-Daniel Coats caught 8 passes by the unofficial TBS count and did not drop a single pass as he was a primary target throughout the drills.
-Johnny Harline stood out again by snagging everything thrown his way.
-Nathan Miekle made a living catching short hitches and outs underneath the coverage which looks to be a hallmark regarding the HR position in the new offense.
-Joe Griffin made a nice one-handed grab on a 20 yard out route.
-Chris Hale made a great break on the ball knocking it away from Morris on a short slant.
-Luettgerodt intercepted a pass that Buchanan knocked away from Michael Reed.
-John Beck saw all of his action with the first team and threw a couple of long strikes to Watkins, a five yard pass that went for a touchdown to Harline and concluded one drive taking it the distance himself for a 60 yard touchdown run.
-Matt Berry led the twos against the twos on defense for an 80 yard drive that ended with a fumble at the goal line. The highlights of the drive were a couple of passes to Coats, a 10 yard pass to Phil Niu, a 6 yard pass to Watkins, a 25 yard pass to Zac Collile and a 9 yard run from Wayne Latu.
-Regarding Travis Bright's injury, the screw inserted in his foot following his first surgery didn't stabilize and although he feels at least 70%, they feel they can't risk the injury getting worse as he's due for another surgery to fix the same problem.
-David Tafuna did not participate in drills, but is day-to-day recovering from his ACL injury.
-Paul Walkenhorst was working out with the linebackers, running mostly with the threes in drills.
-Bryce Mahuika participated in special teams drills, but was held out of seven on sevens and the scrimmage.