McNeese Training Camp, Friday

Training Camp Day 1

LAKE CHARLES – McNeese learned early on Friday that it had been tabbed with a No. 8 ranking in The Sports Network Top 25 preseason football poll and ended the day with a nearly 2 ½ hour practice to cap off the first workout of fall camp.

Friday's slate in shorts and helmets was the first of nine straight practices, weather permitting, and the energy and enthusiasm didn't disappoint.

"Everybody had high intensity, we were ready to go, excited to get started. And I feel like today was oerall a good day as far as intensity and just to be there.. Of course we made some mistakes, some small things that we can get polished up and i'm just excited to keep moving forward." -Daniel Sams QB

"It was a typical first day, but it really wasn't bad," said head coach Matt Viator.  "All-in-all I thought it was good.  I thought the kids moved around good.  It seemed like we retained some things from our meetings and didn't really look real sloppy."

The Cowboys will workout in shorts and helmets again on Saturday before slipping on the shoulder pads for the first time on Sunday.  The squad will don full pads for the first time on Tuesday.

"I thought it was a good day," said junior quarterback Tyler Bolfing.  "There was a lot of energy and a lot of activity going on.  I just loved getting back out here.  I thought it was a pretty good practice.  There were a few things that were a little iffy, but that's just typical of the first day.  We really showed a lot of competitiveness which what I was really excited about."

Hitting the practice field with 100-percent health for the first time in his college career was senior wideout Ernest Celestie who couldn't help to express his excitement.

"It's exciting to be back on the practice field," said Celestie who played in all 13 games last season on a broken foot but rarely saw the practice field in order to keep from furthering his injury.  Celestie had surgery on the foot in the offseason.

"Around May is when I hit 100-percent."

It seems the story of fall camp will be the fight for the starting quarterback spot, but regardless of who that player will be, there's no lack of competitiveness nor is there any ill-will among the competitors.

"Competition makes everybody better," said Bolfing.  "Coach V treated me great.  He called me in right when he got the news that (Kansas State quarterback transfer) Daniel (Sams) was transferring in.  I was excited.  Daniel is a great guy.  At the end of the day, winning is all that matters."

"My first day here, he (Bolfing) took me in with open arms," said Sams.  "He and (Will) Briscoe as well.  They've been teaching me all of the signals, the terminology.  At Kansas State, it was a more complex offense.  Everything here is just name difference.  It's all the same thing.  But they took me in with open arms.  Of course this is a competition but it always feels good to know you have a teammate at the end of the day." 


Just a few days removed from posting a No. 9 ranking in the FCS Coaches Top 25 preseason poll, McNeese has been tabbed for a No. 8 ranking by The Sports Network in its preseason poll released on Friday.

The Cowboys, 10-3 in 2013, consistently ranked in the top 25 in both polls last season and ended the year ranked 11th in the SN final poll of the year.

Southeastern Louisiana, the reigning Southland Conference champion, is ranked third in the preseason poll while Sam Houston State is ranked 17th.

1.    Eastern Washington Eagles (82)

2.    North Dakota State Bison (62)

3.    Southeastern Louisiana Lions (2)

4.    New Hampshire Wildcats (1)

5.    Montana Grizzlies

6.    Jacksonville State Gamecocks

7.    Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

8.    McNeese State Cowboys

9.    Northern Iowa Panthers

10.   South Dakota State Jackrabbits

11.   Fordham Rams

12.   Villanova Wildcats

13.   Towson Tigers

14.   Chattanooga Mocs

15.   Tennessee State Tigers

16.   Eastern Illinois Panthers

17.   Sam Houston State Bearkats

18.   Montana State Bobcats

19.   William & Mary Tribe

20.   Richmond Spiders

21.   Furman Paladins

22.   Bethune-Cookman Wildcats

23.   Northern Arizona Lumberjacks

24.   Youngstown State Penguins

25.   Maine Black Bears

by Matthew Bonnette