WMU Football is Back as Fall Camp Begins
Monday's practice began the three-week grueling process leading up to the Broncos' Sept. 1 battle with Illinois. The first practice is a yearlong build up that both players and coaches have been waiting for, ever since the end of last year.
"I couldn't sleep the last three nights," Head Coach Bill Cubit said. "It's just the anticipation as the coaches and our guys are real excited to get back on the field."
Today's practice included individual and team drills focused on developing and improving on the new schemes put in place. On the defensive side of the ball, defensive back Donald Celiscar made a leaping interception in team drills that excited both the coaching staff and his fellow players.
On the defensive line senior Paul Hazel was bull-rushing the offensive line and making key defensive plays. Hazel was moved to a new position in the off-season, going from defensive end to outside linebacker and says it's always nice to refresh and refocus.
"I've been refreshing on my keys and remaining focused." Hazel said. "My role is important and I'm going to give my best to this team."
Switching to the offensive side of the ball, it's no secret that WMU will throw the ball. With senior quarterback Alex Carder at the helm, the offense in day one looked just as potent as last year.
"Guys are ready to go and excited," Carder said. "There's a real difference here and nobody is afraid to go out there, step up and make plays."
Moving to 7-on-7 and team drills Carder was efficient and effective moving the ball down the field. He was reading coverage of the defense and living up to the hype surrounding the accomplished quarterback. A surprising standout was back-up quarterback Tyler Van Tubbergen, who seemed to be reading and figuring out the coverage of the defense better while marching his team down the field in the team drills as well.
"The one thing I love about Tyler (Van Tubbergen) is that he prepares himself like he was the starter." Cubit said. "He looked better today in the first practice then he did in the spring."
The final team drill that pitted the first team offensive and defensive squads was oozing with intensity. After cornerback Celiscar intercepted a pass from quarterback Carder, he then proceeded to celebrate with his teammates and blissfully float the ball back towards Carder. With team drills come bragging rights after each series.
"It's a battle," said Hazel. "You don't want to lose at all."
Though intensity and excitement filled the eyes of the Bronco players on day one of camp, the end goal is quite clear.
"The goal is to win the MAC title," Carder said. "We need to go into each game looking to come away with a victory."
"We're trying to do one thing here, that hasn't been done during our time here, and that's win a championship," said Cubit.
Nathan Palcowski is staff writer for www.wmubroncos.com and will be covering the Broncos during fall camp and beyond.