UMHB Press Release
By: Jon Wallin
BELTON, Texas – The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team officially opened defense of its national championship with the first practice of fall camp on Saturday, August 17th. Newcomers and returners went through separate workouts on a warm, muggy day at the Crusader practice fields.
A combined total of 202 players went through the two separate workouts with each practice last about an hour and a half. The newcomers spent the early part of their practice learning special teams with scrimmages looming at the end of the opening week of camp. The returners went through a crisp workout that was heavier on repetition than on teaching. With 74 returners and several promising transfers working out with the latter group, there were several bright spots. But after losing key weapons at the skill positions to graduation, there was one area in particular that Cru Head Coach Pete Fredenburg is watching closely.
“I really think our receiving corps has to be a big push for us because of what we lost there,” Fredenburg said. “It is always fun to get back out here and get started again. With all of these guys we have coming back and the leadership we have coming back, we are extremely excited to get going again.”
Holding the separate practices also allowed the coaches to focus on the newcomers and get them some repetitions to help prepare them for full-team practices.
“It is great because they get all of the terminology, understand the coaching and what we are trying to get them to do and they get some individual attention,” Fredenburg said. “Then, when we get everybody together, those guys really have a chance to compete. The process has begun.”
Fredenburg also highlighted a deep and talented group of defensive linemen in both the newcomer group and the returners as one of the bright spots of the opening day of practice. The return of All-American linebacker Tevin Jones after sitting out last season was another for the Cru head coach.
Key battles to watch over the next several days of practice will be the competition to replace running back Markeith Miller, the all-time leading rusher in both school and American Southwest Conference history, and the battle at wide receiver, where all-time leading pass catcher T.J. Josey has graduated. Defensively, UMHB has to replace half of the starting secondary and all three of last year’s starting linebackers.
The Cru will hold a full-team practice at 5:30 pm on Sunday. The team will return to the split squad workout format with Monday morning’s practice.