88 players participate in first official practice of season
The University of Minnesota Crookston football program opened up fall camp officially on Thursdaywith their first practice of the 2017 season. The Golden Eagles had 88 players in camp for the first day.
“I thought we had a good start to our fall camp today,” said Head Coach Mark Dufner. “It was good to see the returners and see how they have progressed since spring ball. We haven’t seen the new guys aside from film, so it was great to get a better evaluation of them.”
The Golden Eagles had a day jam packed with team meetings, team meals, the team’s first practice and a walk through. The day was focused on introducing schemes and drills in a walk through to the younger players. Starting at 1:30, they took the drills and schemes to more of a live tempo. The Golden Eagles wore just practice uniforms and helmets. They will go into full pads as the week continues.
“We are looking for improvement every day. We are going to focus on fundamentals here in camp and work on team-building."
Coach Dufner was impressed with the leadership of several of his upperclassmen, who helped guide the 40 newcomers who started their collegiate careers Thursday.
“I noticed a couple of seniors who did a very nice job coaching up the younger guys,” Dufner said. That is what we need in order to be successful.”
One key senior returnee is Adam Connette (Sr., WR, Corona, Calif.), who is the program’s all-time leading receiver. Connette was excited for the season, which is also bittersweet due to it being his final year in the maroon and gold.
“It was my last first day as a Minnesota Crookston football player,” Connette said. “As a freshman, you never think it is going to come, but now that it is here it is sad but I am excited for this season coming up.”
One of Connette’s main focuses was on what he could do to help the younger players get acclimated to the schemes and collegiate football.
“Really it is telling these young guys that they need to get in their playbooks and the biggest thing is effort,” Connette said. “You can’t teach effort. I am really excited about these young guys because they have done a good job learning our plays.”
Though Connette was impressed with the effort on day one, he also knows that the excitement must be controlled in order for the team to succeed this season.
“We are all excited, it is the first day,” Connette said. “The biggest growth we need to see is how we get that excitement controlled, so that we aren’t wild out there and are controlled when we take the field for the first time against Upper Iowa Aug. 31.”
One of the newcomers that made an impact on day one was Markos Bockru (Fr., DB, Winnipeg, Manitoba).
“I thought the first day went well,” Bockru said. “It was high intensity like I thought it would be. I thought I did a pretty good job out there.”
Bockru talked about his interception during the practice and how it gave him a confidence boost.
“Getting the ball, it was a confidence booster,” Bockru said. “It made me feel like I am capable of good things. It came about just as a quick decision I made in coverage and I was in position to pick the ball off.”
Though Bockru was excited about what he was able to do on the first day, he also knows that he must improve to be able to see the field for the first game.
“My focus as we continue in camp is on getting faster as a defensive back and physically stronger on the field,” Bockru said.
The Golden Eagles will hold their first scrimmage Aug. 15 at 1:30 p.m. The U of M Crookston will commence the season Aug. 31 at 4 p.m. against Upper Iowa University.