CHARLESTON, S.C. - Fast. Focused. Fun. Early.
Charleston Southern football started up its 2019 spring practice slate with its first 6 a.m. practice as the Bucs hit Buccaneer Field prior to sunrise on Wednesday morning. The practice marked the first of 13 practices that will be held at 6 a.m. during the CSU spring football season.
CSU's second scrimmage (March 30) will be held at 1 p.m., while the Bucs' Spring Game is scheduled for noon on April 13.
The fast pace started from the moment CSU hit the field and continued through the final whistle in head coach Autry Denson's first time on the field with the Buccaneers. Denson, hired in January as the Bucs' fifth head coach in program history, has been active in the team's weight lifting and meetings but had yet to see the full team in action prior to Wednesday's first practice.
"It's just great to be back out here playing football," Denson said. "We've had the press conference, the weight lifting, the meetings – now it's time to play football. I told the team today that we took the first step toward many, many great things to come. The guys are excited, we're excited and we put in the work today."
With a new staff featuring six new coaches, including the entire offensive staff, the first practice of spring was a big step for all parties. The Bucs hit the ground running to implement the elements of their new offensive scheme and work on execution.
"Green means go for us," Denson said. "When we hit the field, we want to be running and playing football, as much football as possible. We'll coach in our meetings before and after practice, but when we're on the field we want to get our reps in. It's all about repetition and execution."
While the Buccaneers will feature several familiar faces on both sides of the ball in 2019, including All-Conference performers Kameron Brown (WR), J.D. Sosebee (LB), Kyle Reighard (P), and Ethan Ray (LS), CSU will also turn to a host of newcomers looking to make their mark on the program.
For Coach Denson, the Buccaneers will be looking for progress daily and competition throughout all facets of the program.
"We've got a saying around here that we're always going to stay even-keeled, but practices are meant for us to get better daily," he commented. "We're not looking for perfection; we're looking for progress. We got better today."
The arrival of spring practice also allows the coaching staff to continue to evaluate the CSU football roster as the Buccaneers look ahead to their first day of full pads next week, as well as their three scheduled scrimmages this spring.
"We've got some stuff to coach off of now," Denson said. "Up until this point, it's all been based around what we've thought and what we've been anticipating from the team. Now we have some hard facts and will continue to get better. The guys are excited and we're excited to be out here."
For CSU and Coach Denson, the first practice is in the books. Friday morning at 6 a.m., the Bucs will be back out on the field for practice no. 2.
"I think it went well today," he said. "The fact that we came out, we got better today."