MIAMI — After starting out in shorts and shoulder pads the first couple of days, the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Golden Norsemen football team took Sunday off before donning full pads Monday on Red Robertson Field.

“We’ve been in shoulder pads and shorts the past couple of days and we got a couple of installs put in before taking a break,” Golden Norse head coach Clay Patterson said. “Once we go to full pads, we’ll take a break on the installs because of the physicality involved.

“Following a couple of full pad practices we’ll go back and complete our installs,” Patterson said. “We’re progressing rather nicely right now.”

Because of the number of prospects (114) competing in the first few days, Patterson and his staff think that the team as a whole is ahead of this time last season.

“You can see the growth of our football team because of the number of guys coming back that are doing what they know needs to be done,” Patterson said. “They are able to help our guys that are new learn quicker.”

A lack of experienced depth along the interior of the offensive line will require some freshmen to step up and make contributions.

“We knew coming into the fall that we were going to be a little bit young on the offensive line,” Patterson said. “Even though as a group they are not behind, we’ve still got some growth that needs to take place at the five individual positions.

“We’re also going to need to create some depth at running back and our defensive line spots,” Patterson said. “We’re alright in terms of experience with our first four or five guys, but the d-line is an area where freshmen need to step up and compete.”

Spending most of this week on details, the Golden Norse will also experience the increased speed of football at the junior college level.

“I think as a team, the details that we do will be a lot better taken care of than they were last year,” Patterson said. “The fundamentals and the physicality of the game will be our strength.

“We want to be more sound than other teams and we also want to be more physical than other teams,” Patterson said. “The football part will take care of itself.”