24 of 25 expected newcomers came in for helmets, shoulder pads, t-shirts, shoes and lockers. It all started with Miami University of Ohio transfer Zac Elcess at 8:15 a.m. and ending two and one-half hours later with Galloway, Ohio, freshman Kyle Echols and Huntington High School product Hiram Moore, roommates who had to be called in their dorm to remind them it was time to come for equipment.
Five freshmen listed on the official team roster found on www.herdzone.com (#19 Paco Jones, #23 Antoine Cabarrus, #43 Adam Lee, #49 Peyton Harris and #87 Rusty Taylor) will not be in the first 105 players the Herd is allowed to invite for preseason practice.
New players from West Virginia include Moore, #7- receiver, Geremy Rodamer, #19-receiver, Will Albin, Sloan Baisden, #21-defensive back #48-running back, Matt Simpson, #58-linebacker, Vito Minutelli, #65-offensive line, and Nate Howard, #75-defensive line. Other noteable new players include Fresno State transfer Tim Bessolo, #10-quarterback and junior college players,Clarence Stanfield, #81-receiver, and Jamaal Whyce, #96-defensive line.
Coach Bob Pruett, who along with the rest of the coaching staff, put the returning players through a 12-minute running test this morning, was upbeat about this years team, "I really think we have a chance to be better than last year. We challenged our team last night in the first meeting, because we are looking for team leaders on a squad with only 14 seniors.
"Our other concern is the change in the practice schedule that eliminates three days with the freshmen. We are going to spend 15 minutes before our first few practices and 30 minutes after to try and make them feel at ease with the scheme," said Pruett.
The staff will use the pre-practice and post-practice time to get to know the new players, as well as try to head off any homesickness or confusion over the early part of their college experience. "They go from being the person everyone wrote and talked about to sixth or lower on the depth chart and that can be a big challenge."
Practices will be at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Saturday Morning, the team will work out from 9:00 a.m. until noon, when the coaches will meet the media.