The beginning of spring practice brings the start of a new season for a new team, and the hope of a promising season. • The team practiced for two hours and fifteen minutes inside the Nicolet Center. The players wore helmets, upper pads, and shorts.
• After practice, Pat Fitzgerald said the intensity wasn't where it needed to be.
• The football program also announced that running backs coach Matt MacPherson will take over as recruiting coordinator; replacing offensive line coach Adam Cushing. • Fitzgerald compared returning RB Mike Trumpy to a salad, saying he was "fresh". Trumpy laughed at his new nickname.
• As expected, Dan Persa did not practice, but was a part of team drills. Persa spent the first part of practice working on his rehabilitation, but was with the offense for team drills.
• Fitzgerald said after practice that competition is wide-open at quarterback, adding that each of the quarterbacks knows how quickly things can change.
• Returning sophomore QB Kain Colter said Dan Persa has been a huge help in his progression. The two quarterbacks trained together in the offseason, and have helped each other.
• Kolter on Persa: "Dan and I are really similar. We're not the biggest guys. We bust it around. I watch him, I love his work ethic. We don't have the physical size, we're not 6'5; we got to work that much harder mentally to get there."
• Mike Trumpy returned to action after an injury-plagued end to his season. Trumpy broke a bone in his hand during the first quarter of the Wrigleyville Classic against Illinois. You may remember, Trumpy finished that game, and even ran for an 80-yayrd touchdown with that broken bone.
• Mike Trumpy said that the competition at running back is fierce, but each running back brings a different ability to the backfield.
• Trumpy said of the competition in the backfield, "It's exciting. We've got a lot of great running backs. We all kind of bring something different to the table. It's fun to compete, push each other, work harder, and have fun."
• On the other side of the ball, this is the first chance for the defense to get back to action after a tumultuous end to the season. Senior safety Brian Peters is excited for a new beginning.
• Peters said of spring practice, "I'd go out on the field everyday of the week." Getting back to the swing of things is good. All of the guys are clicking today, getting into it with the offense, and talking a little stuff. It's fun."
• One minor position change of note—sophomore Chance Carter has moved defensive tackle from defensive end. Carter is listed as 260-lbs. My guess is that he will switch between the end and the middle.
• The battle at kicker has now begun. With Stefan Demos gone, the position is wide-open to Judd Budzien and Steve Flaherty. Fitzgerald said that he hopes to get each player involved in some way.
• The Wildcats hosted one recruit, Leyden High School (Northlake, IL) LB Nelson Lugo. We will have an update on Lugo later this evening.
• On a very exciting note, I was the first media member present at today's practice. Coach Fitzgerald said I get some kind of award—I'm hoping for a halftime ceremony—and I can sleep on the blocking pads for tomorrow's 6:45 practice session.
Below are the links to our Day 1 video, featuring post-practice interviews with Pat Fitzgerald, and a one-on-one with Brian Peters.