MARTIN, Tenn. – With the weather feeling more like early October rather than the first week of August, the University of Tennessee at Martin football team officially opened the main portion of fall camp with Practice #2 on Friday night.
As the sun set over the west horizon of Hardy M. Graham Stadium, the boys of fall stole the show on the gridiron. With the season opener just 27 days away, the Skyhawks opened its full camp schedule after having a soft-opening and camp teaser for Practice #1 last Friday.
Armed with a multitude of returning starters on both sides of the ball, the Skyhawks donned their helmets and practice jerseys in preparation for the upcoming season. Looking to replace 21 graduating seniors, UT Martin welcomed 37 newcomers to camp.
“It was good to see how the guys responded after a couple of days off,” said UT Martin head coach Jason Simpson. “It was crisp even though there were certainly some mistakes which we can clean up tomorrow. We have some depth at positions now and will have some good position battles.”
“It was great being back out here with the guys again,” said Preseason All-OVC quarterback Troy Cook. “Being able to throw again while doing 11-on-11 stuff was a lot of fun. We need as much practice as we can get. Summer is great and everything but once you put on the helmet and pads, everything is different.”
“It felt great to finally get out here after a long, long, long summer,” said preseason All-American Kahlid Hagens. “I think we came out today in helmets and got a lot done. I’m excited to see what we can do in pads tomorrow.”
UT Martin will return to the gridiron on Saturday, Aug. 5 and Sunday, Aug. 6 to wrap up the weekend with 7:15 p.m. practices. The Skyhawks will begin a fresh week of practices on Monday, Aug. 7 which will feature a total of seven consecutive practices prior to the team’s off day on Friday, Aug. 11. The team’s first scrimmage is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 12 at 7:15 p.m.