One hundred and sixteen players from the University of Indianapolis football team reported to Key Stadium on Aug. 6 for the annual fall camp. Coaches, veterans and incoming freshmen will spend three weeks preparing for the upcoming football season.
This year’s camp was different than previous years. Back in April, the National Collegiate Athletic Association passed a new legislation which says college teams are not longer allowed to have full contact practices more than once a day. To compensate for the lost practice time, the NCAA also ruled that colleges could start their preseason camp one week earlier than in the past.
Head Football Coach Bob Bartolomeo said that the Greyhounds will have 21 practices instead of the 26 practices they had last year. The players and coaches are working on getting used to the new schedule, which consists of a morning walk-through, practice in the afternoon and meetings throughout the day. Fall camp is when the coaches decide who’s going to be an active member of the team and the players now only have one-two and a half hour practice, to show what they can do.
“They realize this is their only time to shine,” Bartolomeo said. “You can shine in meetings. You can shine in walk-throughs but when we practice that’s when you earn your keep, so to speak.”
Preseason camp is an opportunity for the players to develop their skills and grow as members of a team. During the usual practice, players have the opportunity to do individual position drills, come together in small groups, work in special teams and eventually come together as a team to practice game-like situations, according to Bartolomeo.
For freshmen, this is their first time practicing at a college level. According to Bartolomeo, there are several factors, besides intense practices, that affect each player in different ways when they arrive to campus.
“They are away from home for the first time,” he said. “Being in a strange bed, not eating mom’s cooking, and ‘I’ve got a new roommate,’ or ‘I have to be somewhere all the time.’ All that plus a new offense, defense, special teams is new. It affects each individual kid, and it sets apart who is mature enough to handle the grind.”
Football camp does not just involve practices. The team works on developing camaraderie and respect. Each player focuses on mental progress and becoming someone who can lead the team to a common goal with effective communication. Redshirt senior quarterback Jake Purichia said each player is responsible for being a leader in the team.
“Leadership and communication are a big part of being a member of the team especially during camp,” he said. “During meetings and anywhere we try to communicate, to socialize, sit with the new player that you haven’t met. Build relationships with everyone in the team to make a successful unit.”
The Hounds will kick off their season by hosting the Grand Valley State University Lakers on Aug. 31 at 7 p.m.