The opening of spring football camp on Thursday gave Riley and his team their first look at the players, their work ethic, and their football skills.
With several of the local news stations in attendance and around 50 fans on the sidelines the Beavers began their warm ups.
The first of fifteen practices in April was well organized, fast paced, and succinct. The flow of the two-hour session was well coordinated and intense despite rumors that Riley's practices were care free compared to Dennis Erickson's practices.
The Beaver scrimmage for the first time in 2003.
From the beginning of practice, Riley's increased attention to special teams play was easily noticed. Most of the football team worked on special teams for the first 30 minutes, while the quarterbacks, wide receivers, the lines, and anybody else not participating in special teams play worked on the other half of the field.
Most of the drills lasted 15-20 minutes before the piercing sound of the air horn broke the teaching. Then the units would change drills and the instruction would begin again.
After an hour of unit drills, the defense and offense, excluding the lines, lined up on the 40 yard line for their first look at each other.
A clapping Derek Anderson squatted down and took the snap from Matt Brock as the Beaver defense tensed, all too ready to take the enthusiasm out of Anderson. Anderson's first pass zipped over James Newson's head and through his hands to the delight of the defense.
As usual, the defense was much more effective than the offense the first day.
Most of the Beaver quarterbacks overthrew their receivers and generally looked rusty. In addition to the overthrown passes, many of the receivers had a hard time holding onto the hard thrown balls.
The mouthy Beaver defense intercepted several passes and deflected numerous others.
The Beavers continue their workouts on Friday at 4:00 PM.
News and notes on the first day of spring practice can be found on the premium message board.