“It’s always exciting. It’s the first day of practice, a new year, a new group of guys, and any time you start with a new beginning it’s always fun,” Richards said.
The coach wasted no time getting his 100-plus players into football mode, attempting to establish a high level of energy from the start of practice.
“We want that energy on day one. We started off with a high intensity, station type drill, so we were getting after it immediately,” he said.
“Intensity is something we can control, along with our attitude and effort, and that’s something we always talk to our guys about.”
The coach was cautious when asked to assess where the team was at after only one practice session.
“It’s a little early to tell at this point, but I think we are going to be a competitive football team this year,” Richards said.
There are some strengths on this year’s Savage Storm, with seven returning starters on offense and six on defense.
“I think we’re very strong at wide receiver (three returning starters) and at running back on the offensive side of the ball,” he said.
“I also think the defense will be good this year, because we’ve got so much more depth than we had last season.
“The six starters coming back and the guys that played behind them got a lot of playing time last year, and we added a couple of guys that we think are going to help out, so I’m really excited about our depth.”
Much of the focus turned to the new signal caller. For the second-straight season, the Storm was without a returning starter at quarterback. Richards named sophomore Dallas McCutcheon as the opening-day starter, based on his performance in spring drills.
“I really think that Dallas will be our starting quarterback in that first game of the year. He’s earned it. He’s had a good spring. He’s a good player,” Richards said.
McCutcheon played in five games last season, attempting 16 passes with one touchdown and two interceptions.
The secondary will have the most competition for playing time.
“I would say that our corner position is still pretty wide open,” said Richards. “Obviously, we’re always going to get the best guys we can get on the field. Even though one guy may have finished spring football and had a great spring and went in as a starter, if I’ve got somebody that’s outplaying him at this point in time in August, we’re going to make that change.”