The Bulldogs took the field Friday for their first practice of fall camp in helmets and shorts. Although, they are not yet in full pads, the intensity level did not suffer in the slightest.
The offense began practice running through plays with the first and second teams, and did not miss a beat. Derek Carr had great rhythm with the receiving corps and the ball never touched the ground as they moved down the field.
It's still too early to tell how the 'Dogs season will go, but coach Tim DeRuyter and the rest of the coaching staff are using these days to set a level of focus and intensity that will be needed to be successful, as well as setting a solid team philosophy.
"I was impressed," DeRuyter said. "You expect the guys to have mojo on the first day, you know, a lot of energy, and we saw that. I thought our first units on both sides of the ball were crisp and had great retention. I thought our offense showed some good timing and guys were making plays.
"I saw some things from some new guys, but you know we have to get a lot better and work on our depth, but for the first day I thought it was good."
DeRuyter praised the play of a few players on each side of the ball for their performances in 7-on-7 drills.
"Offensively, you know, Derek and Devante really looked sharp out there," he said. "I thought Josh Harper looked like he had done some good things, and I like the way Marteze Waller ran the football, so I thought those guys did good things. On the defensive side Jamal Ellis showed up, and made a big pick, Obie had a pic, and so we had some guys that had some flash moments."
DeRuyter and the coaching staff are also focusing on driving home the team's philosophy to "be who we said we are," and not be satisfied with the accomplishments of last year, and the preseason accolades.
"I want our number one goal every single year to be to win a conference championship, and to do that you don't just show up and play, you've got to put the work in every single day. Our guys realize that, and I want them practicing like we're the hunter and we're going after something. Everybody talks about how we have a target on our chests, and I told the guys last night 'B.S. on that,' everybody in this league has a target on their chest and were coming after them."
Running Back Race
The running back reps were split between a number of different players, but Marteze Waller and Josh Quezada were the two getting reps with the first team. The ultimate decision on will start will be left up to the players and how they perform on the field.
"The cream rises to the top," said running backs coach Joe Wade. "A lot of times that doesn't happen right away. It may happen at the beginning of the season or in the middle of the season, but I feel like the guys we got are all competitive and we'll just see what they do with their opportunities."
Running back Marteze Waller understands that performance on the field will be the deciding factor in who gets the bulk of the action for the Bulldogs.
"Right now were just competing, we don't have a starter yet so the best player will play," Waller said. "We don't know who that is yet, but camp will let us find out."
Backing up Carr
The backup quarterback position has been in question throughout the offseason and today we got our first insight on competition for the job.
"I thought that everybody did pretty good for the first day," Carr said. "Zack [Greenlee], it was good that he threw his first pick so now he knows that you don't have to be perfect. He got that out of the way, but he looked good and he is going to be a great player.
"Myles [Carr] has come a long way. I took him under my wing and made him work out with me all summer, showing him how to be a quarterback. I think he looked great. Brian [Burrell] comes from a JC so he has a little experience and knows about struggles on day one."
A lot of hype has surrounded the Bulldogs highly touted recruit Zack Greenlee. Carr spoke more about the freshman quarterback.
"It is hard to say because he hasn't gone against the 1's yet. When you go against the 1's it is a lot faster than with the 2's. It is a different speed of the game. But I think so far he knows quarterback, he knows football and he wants to learn so he is going to turn out just fine."
The Bulldogs were intense and focused today and saw good things come from their first team practice. They look to match that same level of effort everyday throughout the season.
Practice consisted of helmet only work.
DeRuyter opened practice by saying "2013 starts now: be who we said we are."
First team offense looked crisp in the no huddle and made no mistakes.
Second team offense was a little shaky. Some timing issues and a few dropped passes.
Carr was constantly coaching up the younger QB's between reps.
Defense showed a lot of intensity constantly making noise and jumping around.
Sean Alston was on the field in a sling performing footwork drills showing great leadership to the other DB's despite his season ending injury.
JC transfer Claudell Louis was as big and strong in person as in pictures.
Coaches were very impressed by new cornerback Curtis Riley.
Wide receivers Aaron Peck and Carl Coleman made some impressive catches.
Converted quarterback Greg Watson also looked sharp at receiver.
The offensive line had the most intense group, led by their coach Cameron Norcross.
Freshman kicker Colin McGuire looked to have a strong leg and made all his practice kicks
Players and coaches wished coach Chris Calvin happy birthday after practice with a little Gatorade bath.
Players that did not make the beginning of fall camp: Theo Chambers and Tray Hall.
Steven Morehart is a new staff writer for FSBulldogs.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @StevenMorehart.