BUIES CREEK, N.C. (WNCN) — Campbell head football coach Mike Minter wasn’t holding anything back to start the season.
He put his Camels through a tough two and half hour opening practice looking to see where his players were physically, mentally and if the lessons from last year had sunk in.
“I think they really understood the level that you have to be at in practice,” said Minter. “Everything has to be like a game rep and you cant take any reps off.”
In the earliest of moments, the defense was ahead of the offense but not for long. As the afternoon progressed both sides put the lessons learned from last season to good use. Each unit showed they had what it took to take over a game and carry the team.
“This being year three for me, the game is definitely slowing down a little bit for me,” said quarterback Hajj-Malik Williams. “Competing against guys like Darion (Slade) on the other side of the ball only betters me.”
“From when I first got there until now there is no competition,” said Camels defensive back Darion Slade. “With us going through those four games last year it built our confidence a lot.”
With most of their team returning, the first day of camp didn’t have a brand new feel so much as it felt like old hat. Upperclassmen were correcting younger players’ mistakes before coaches could in some cases.
The practice had a blue-collar punch the clock and get to work feel.
“I am really excited about the fact that I got guys that understand who I am,” said Minter. “They understand the system, understand the culture that we’re about and then they are performing at that level.”
“We want it and it speaks volumes that you see it on the first day,” said Williams. “We haven’t scratched the surface.”
The Camels will open the 2021 season at FBS-member Liberty on Sept. 4 before making their home debut on Sept. 11 at 6 p.m. against Elon, 665 days since last hosting a football game at Barker-Lane Stadium (vs. No. 15 Monmouth, Nov. 16, 2019).