East Central University opened its 2013 football camp with 118 players reporting for the first practice session Monday morning.
So far, so good according to head coach Tim McCarty, who begins his fourth season at the helm of the Tiger football program.
"We’ve had two pleasing practices. We had 118. It’s a good number. You have 118 kids and when you report, Brian Lorance (head athletic trainer) has 24 trainers out there, we have our strength coach, three filmers and our equipment manager and all the coaches. You’re talking about a big party out there in terms of the people," McCarty said. "There’s 150 people surrounding the initial kickoff of that football. It’s a good number, and we’re excited about it."
There won't be any big quarterback battles this preseason. After taking over the starting job five games into the 2012 season as a redshirt freshman, Spencer Bond entered camp as the clear No. 1. Bond completed 94 of 189 passes for 1,146 yards and threw eight touchdowns while rushing for seven more. The Tigers won four of their final six contests a year ago to salvage a winning season with a 6-5 record.
Bond's passes appeared sharp and crisp during a Wednesday afternoon passing drill.
"It makes quite a bit of difference this year because there’s not a lot of unknowns," McCarty said. "Last year the big unknown was the quarterback position and really some of the offensive line. This year the unknown is just the normal progression, the normal expectations and the details of how we’re going to execute."
The ECU defense was hit hard by graduation, but McCarty likes what he's seen so far by that unit.
"We’re a fast team, and that’s good to see. We graduated some individual production defensively. We feel like we’ll make that production up. It’s just the who part," he explained. "We’ve got the whos, we just don’t have the individual guy yet to say, 'it’s going to be that guy.'"
East Central will practice today from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. before returning to a morning workout session beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Friday.
The Tigers will practice twice on Saturday, with a morning session from 8:30 to 10:30 and an afternoon workout from 3:15 to 4:45 p.m. On Sunday, the football team will meet for a Media Day at 8:30 a.m. before hitting the field for a 2:30-4:30 practice session.
Practices will take place from 3:20-5:20 p.m. starting Monday, Aug. 19, through the end of camp Saturday, Aug. 24.