MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama State Hornets opened fall camp Thursday, looking to do just one thing.
“The biggest thing that we wanted to do today was check the things we saw in the spring and the summer to make sure that those things were consistent," said Hornets head coach Donald Hill-Eley.
Thursday’s practice was all about getting guys used to the routine and the schedule as the Hornets are just 28 days out from their season opener versus UAB.
With a total of 13 practices before their first game, Hill-Eley has a set schedule of how he wants things to progress.
“We have to get through at least the first eight days, which includes a scrimmage, of just focusing on ourselves and making sure the guys understand what we want to get done, and then we’ll start scaling it back those last five days of just really being able to focus on UAB and planning an attack and moving from there,” he said.
The Hornets will be on the field for nearly three hours every practice until classes start back on campus. Once that happens, practices will go to an hour and fifty minutes, so this time now is crucial.
ASU finished 4-7 last season in Hill-Eley’s first full season as head coach. This season, the team is more familiar with him, but will follow the direction of new offensive and defensive coordinators. With the new faces in Joe Blackwell as offensive coordinator, and Travis Pearson as defensive coordinator, comes a new challenge.
“The thing that you lose when you have new coordinators on both sides, is now getting your timing and chemistry down," said Hill-Eley.
If the coaching staff can get their chemistry down, then this Hornets team should see growth and improvement before game No. 1. They were picked to finish fourth in the SWAC East at SWAC Media Day, but they return a handful of talent on both sides of the ball.
They’ll take their first step as a team Aug. 29 at Legion Field in Birmingham. Kickoff against the Blazers is scheduled for 7 p.m. That game will be broadcast on ESPN+.