Aug. 16, 2009
We had the coldest July I can remember in my 18 years of living, but the week that preseason football camp starts, we can't find a cloud in the sky when we're out on the practice field to shield us from the heat. Welcome to camp.
We're almost a full week into it and preseason camp is everything all of us freshmen expected it to be: learning a completely new style of football, working hard every day to try and move our way up the depth chart, meeting new people and trying to fit in with the flow of things, and trying to get used to this totally foreign schedule. A typical day consists of showing up for meetings as early as 7:30 a.m. and being dismissed after our final meeting at 9:30 p.m. In those 14 hours, we have meetings, practice, lunch, more meetings, film sessions, dinner and meetings.
On Monday morning, the locker room was the quietest I've ever heard it as we all got dressed to run our half gasser test at 6:30. (A half gasser is a run across the field width-wise and back.) To pass the test, we had to complete 20 in the designated times for our positions. If you failed to pass the initial test, you had to come back each morning and run until you made every single one count. Think of this as an entrance exam of sorts for camp.
Practices are run with a tight schedule designed to get the most work done in the time we have designated on the field. Meetings fill the majority of the rest of the day as we go over new installations for the practice, plus review plays, schemes and techniques. Each player is issued a binder to add new installations to every day, along with a notebook to keep notes and reminders, as well as the official Winners Manual.
The Winners Manual is a big spiral bound notebook issued to every player on the first day of camp and it contains sections on team policies, Michigan State football history, leadership, the senior class and quiet time. Quiet time is something we do as a team every morning in which we read about a fundamental of life and football (this week for example: discipline, toughness and persistence) and then discuss it as a team.
All of us freshmen now have our feet on the ground, and we're off to the start of our careers here at MSU. The upcoming weeks look to be filled with more learning, adjusting, and handling everything our new situations throw our way and we are all excited to see what this ride has in store for us.
Now, it's time to get some rest before the Monday 6:15 a.m. wake-up call.