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Get an inside look at the Hatters' football practices from the perspective of redshirt sophomore Patrick Cone. Check back daily for updates.

Day 6: August 9 (Second Practice)

With less than 24 hours before the first scrimmage, and the first depth chart created based on that scrimmage, nerves were running high for the Hatter football team in practice #7. Passes were dropped, tackles were missed, and calls were missed. Yet, by the closure of practice, both sides of the ball proved ready for the scrimmage that will occur on Saturday, August 10.

Once again, the offense side of the ball had success under the leadership of Ryan Tentler (#15), the starting quarterback. The defensive side of the ball demonstrated great execution through the lead of starting middle linebacker Ignacio Madrid (#54). When all was said and done, the air had a silent chill as the Hatters left the field. It was certain: the first scrimmage of the inaugural season was at hand. It was time to show the world what Hatter football is all about.

The scrimmage on Aug. 10, is schedule for 7 pm at the Athletic Training Center on the Stetson campus.

Day 6: August 9 (First Practice)

With the offense making such great strides, the challenge for the defense was to not only meet the intensity on the field, but to also execute at the same level as the offense did in practice #5. This was no easy task in practice #6 for the Hatter defense, considering the momentum developed the previous night by the offense. However, the defense responded to the challenge with reckless abandon. The charge was led by Ryan Powers (#9), one of the developing leaders on the team.

Powers' leadership can be seen best on the field in his "hot hands" which have created several interceptions in fall camp, his bone-crushing hits, and quick defensive calls -- lining up the defense perfectly every play. What is little known about Powers is that he denied about a handful of scholarships at D-1 programs around the country for lacrosse to come to Stetson. The Hatters are glad to have him and look forward to his contributions in the inaugural season.

Day 5: August 8

The is no doubt that the entire team is beginning to mesh very well. We saw that through practice #5. And when guys begin to mesh, they begin to play at higher levels than they have previously known. When it came to the "O" versus "D" period of practice, both sides of the ball came to play. The Hatter offense proved the victor in terms of execution for the night.

One of the groups of players that never receive credit for the players' efforts on the field are the offensive line. Everyday the "O" line does brutal work in the "trenches," and never receives recognition. It is finally time to give credit where credit is due.

I can say confidently that the reason the Hatter offense had such a strong night of execution is because of Coach Terry Tilghman, the "O" line coach, and his mighty front line. The starting line, composed of Sean Gannon (#69), Patrick Fogarty (#60), Fletcher Eldemire (#55), Alan Hinderleider (#66) and Matt Wawrzyniak, led more than five drives that ended in touchdowns.

Day 4: August 7

The word for Practice #4 was HOT. While the Hatter football team practiced on the field, head football trainer Andrew Kovachy continually reminded the players to drink fluids in hopes to increase the intensity of practiced. Whether it was the water the players drank or the push-up competition that was on the line, the team period of practice became extremely competitive.

At first it seemed as though it would be another offensive practice. Then, it appeared as though the defense would dominate. In the end, both sides of the ball had their fair share of push-ups. On the offensive side of the ball, the returning runningbacks -- Jerami Singleton (#23), A.J. Washington (#6) and Jason Willix (#32) -- each had some great runs. On the defensive side of the ball, the safeties Ryan Powers (#9) and Sean Hensley (#14) proved their worth on the Hatter defense with multiple pass break-ups.

Day 3: August 6

After Practice #2, it was certain that offense would have to step it up to match the great strides the Hatter defense made. To say the least, Practice #3 was an offensive practice. The returning quarterbacks Ryan Tentler (#15), Nick LaSala (#3), and Jonathan Jerozal (#13) brought speed and precision to the Hatter offense during practice, each maintaining many completed passes in short team periods.

Now, this does not mean the defense had a bad day at practice. In fact, Zach Boryla (#99) and Matt Mines (#95) both had a couple of blocked passes at their defense end position. Additionally, two of the freshmen linebackers, Ryan Gildea (#53) and Cole Ripple (#59), practiced so well that Coach Brandon Wright, the Hatters Linebacker Coach, allotted Gildea and Ripple several reps with the first and second string defenses.

Day 2: August 5

The first practice went so well that many would argue that the second practice could top off the first day of the Stetson season. However, the team came out with great determination. Both sides of the ball excelled in Day #2 Install of plays. Ryan Tentler, starting quarterback and captain, really got the offense side of the ball going.

In the end though, there is no doubt in the coaches minds which side of the ball had the best night. It was the defense. Coach Brian Young at the beginning of practice challenged the team to create 10 turnovers. By the end of practice, over 10 had been made in both interceptions and fumble recoveries.

Day 1: August 4

Without a doubt, nerves were running high as we were making history on the Stetson practice fields, commencing the first season Stetson has had in over 50 years. As can be expected, the combination of nerves and excitement led the players to have imperfect start to practice. However, by the end of the night, it was clear that Stetson would prove to be a fierce foe this fall.

I noticed personally that the speed of practice to continue right where it left off from last year practices. Additionally, I observed many freshmen players stepping up in practice, which allotted them several live reps normally maintained by returners. In general, the first practice of the inaugural Stetson football season went extremely well.


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