MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Huntingdon football team opened preseason practice in shorts and helmets on Wednesday morning.
The three-time defending USA South Athletic Conference champions are coming off a 9-2 season and a third straight NCAA playoff appearance.
Experience and talent return on both sides of the ball but the Hawks are also looking to replace key starters and develop depth on offense and defense in preparation for the season.
The Hawks open the season at Guilford College on Sept. 1. Kickoff is set for noon (Central).
Head Coach Mike Turk on getting started: "Right now, especially while we are in shorts, we're trying to install a lot of things. We have a lot of new faces that we need to be able to count on this season. And that is not just the new guys. In some cases, we have returning players that are either playing new positions or are with the first-team for the first time. So, we're trying to get as many reps as we can and get as many things on film as we can so that we can evaluate what we have."
Turk on the priority of the preseason: "The priority is finding the guys who can help this team have success and accomplish our goals. I've always believed it's not about what you lose, it's about what you have coming back.
"For example, last year we came into the season having to replace Luke Bailey as a three-year starter at quarterback. Luke was a guy who won a lot of games for us and was an incredible football player for us. But we had a guy we could win with returning in Chip Taylor. Now, Chip is gone and the question is do we have someone we can win with returning at that position.
"I use the quarterback position as an example, but that is a question we have to answer at several positions. Our priority is to determine, as quickly as possible, who is going to step up, fill those roles and help this team."
Next Practice: The Hawks return to the field at 9 a.m. on Thursday for practice in shorts and helmets. Practices are open to the public.