The first full day of meeting together proved to be quite a learning experience for both Northeastern A&M football coaches and the more than 120 prospects.
“Since the National Junior College Athletic Association has mandated that we practice only once a day these first three days, we decided to split up our practice, Golden Norse head coach Rob Green said. “We're working with the sophomores at 9 a.m. and then after lunch we have three walk-through sessions before working with the freshmen starting at 6:30 p.m.
“Our walk-throughs start with defense, then special teams, then offense, Green said. “Since they occur during the excessive heat of the afternoon, very little excursion occurs. Plus, it lets everybody sees where they are expected to lineup during practice.
“This is a far cry from back in the day at NEO when you went at it for three-a-days the first two weeks, Green said. “It's a good rule if every school follows it and I know it has to be good for the players.
Another aspect that is constant in the first three days is the fact that the players only wear helmets, shoulder pads, shirts and shorts.
“Because we have 47 sophomores and 78 freshmen, they went out in just their “skivvies (shirts, shorts and shoulder pads) on the first day, Green said. “We wanted to accomplish two things and that was to stress conditioning and the mental aspect of the game.
Two sophomores were no-shows and are not expected to return. Wide receiver Michael Barnett (5-11, 201 of Tulsa Union) and offensive lineman Jesse Downum (6-1, 301 of Muskogee) were both projected to be starters.
“We haven't heard from either player, and really don't expect to, Green said. “They both had grade situations that they were supposed to resolve last spring and I don't think that got done.