SUNDAY, AUGUST 12, 2012
History in the Making: First-Ever Football Practice is in the Books
MELBOURNE, Fla. (Football) – Florida Tech football practiced for the first time in the program’s history Sunday evening at brand new Panther Field. A new era of FIT Athletics was kicked off despite a steady rain for much of the two-hour session.
Nearly 120 student-athletes from 19 different states, Jamaica and South Korea slid on a gray helmet with a crimson or gray jersey and black shorts that bared the words “Florida Tech Football.” The Panthers went through individual drills, position work, special teams and offense versus defense.
“It was exactly what I expected it to be,” head coach Steve Englehart said. “I expected it to be a lot of energy and emotion, so that was positive and I loved it. I knew it was going to be sometimes pretty hectic in regards to getting everyone where they belong. There is no leadership yet on this team. We don’t have any juniors or seniors who have gone through our routine and could lead the freshmen when we blow the whistle.
“We tried to prepare our guys as much as we could in meetings and I think we did a good job of it. I don’t think there was anything on our schedule that didn’t run smoothly. It’s tough at the beginning [of the preseason] because the offensive players need to learn a whole new system.”
Englehart and his coaching staff ran a high-energy, up-tempo practice from start to finish. However, as luck would have it, the durability of the new synthetic turf field was immediately tested.
“I loved that it rained because it gave us a little more adversity,” Englehart said. “This was fun for me. The most challenging task was distributing equipment and everyone getting physicals. Now that everyone is on the field and has been cleared, we can now focus on having a good fall season.”
On the first of many days to come, Englehart liked what he saw from several of his players.
“Mike Ferguson definitely stood out to me,” Englehart said. “Gary Holmes and Manny Abad stood out as well. With today being our first day, it looked like a bunch of gray jerseys and crimson jerseys, but there were definitely some guys that stood out. We’ll notice those more especially when we look at film and when I talk to the rest of the staff. It will be interesting to get back to the office and see what they think.”
The Panthers will practice in helmets-only once more on Monday before strapping on shoulder pads for Tuesday and Wednesday’s sessions. On Thursday, they will work out in full pads.
With the nearby Varsity Training Center under construction and the area surrounding it being an active construction site, practices are closed to the public until further notice. For practice updates, visit FloridaTechSports.com.