Day One Notebook: Football Is Back

Aug. 8, 2016

DENTON - Football is back. With report day in the books, all that was left was for the Mean Green to hit the practice field.

First-year head coach Seth Littrell and his staff opened camp Monday afternoon as Littrell begins his quest to build a team of selfless, tough and disciplined young men - with no excuses. He additionally wants no excuses. And with the temperature reaching the triple digits Monday, the Mean Green would be tested.

The Mean Green took the field for practice No. 1 of a busy month in preparation for the season-opener on Saturday, Sept. 3, against Metroplex rival SMU at Apogee Stadium.

Some notes from day one are listed below in the first installment of the camp notebook.

-- First out to the Darrell R. Dickey practice field was the offensive line and quarterbacks followed by kickers.

-- Camp began with the defense starting on the north field working on technique while the offense ran individual drills.

-- Junior college transfer wide receiver Garrett Barton from Kilgore College made a couple highlight catches in the opening period on offense. The Diana, Texas, native made a number of over the head catches and showed off his speed along the sideline.

-- Fifth-year senior Kenny Buyers is making the switch to offense after missing all of last season with an injury, while totaling 55 tackles in 2014 as a defensive back. On Monday, Buyers looked like a natural with his over the shoulder catches in individual drills.

-- Fifth-year senior quarterback and Alabama transfer Alec Morris has only been in Denton since the spring, but his leadership was evident early on in camp as the offense's vocal motivator. Furthermore, the Allen, Texas, gunslinger showed leadership as a teacher to the underclassmen and was engaged even when he wasn't on the field.

-- Junior college transfer quarterback Devin O'Hara, standing an imposing 6-foot-5, showed off his arm strength a number of times by launching 50-plus yard passes on one-on-one drills.

-- At 5-foot-11, freshman quarterback Mason Fine isn't the most intimidating Mean Green football player on the field but the two-time Oklahoma Gatorade Player of the Year has an arm that would scare any defense. During accuracy throwing drills Monday, Fine hit six of eight targets while on the run -- beating Morris and all other competitors. Offensive coordinator Graham Harrell was noticeably impressed and happy with his underclassman's arm strength and accuracy.

-- One of Fine's favorite targets Monday was freshman receiver Jason Pirtle. The 6-foot-2 Pirtle, also from Locust Grove, Oklahoma, and a former high school teammate of Fine's, made countless catches over the middle of the field during a variety of drills.

-- Along with Morris, junior running back Jeffery Wilson's vocal leadership was easily heard Monday as he reminded his teammates that the heat is not an excuse.

-- Another noteworthy difference between practice Monday and spring practice was the pace. On Monday, coaches were constantly pushing guys from one drill to the next with very little rest. Spring practice was classroom work and now it's time to apply it.

-- Receiver Terian Goree was also a constant figure on offense Monday. The redshirt junior receiver made a remarkable corner of the end zone touchdown catch from Morris that boosted the energy of many of his offensive teammates.

-- Freshman receiver Will Boyd as well brought some energy into practice. The Pantego Christian Academy graduate reeled in a one-handed catch early in practice.

-- On defense, redshirt sophomore defensive back Cedric Fernandes from Arlington made a couple pass break-ups late in the one-on-one period.

For another look at today's practice, head here.



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