A grueling eight-month period of hard hitting and intensity has made way for what the USF football team had been preparing for. The first game week of the season has arrived, and the team is ready to get into gameplay mode.
Its game week, coach Skip Holtz said. We use the terminology that were in phase five of the season for this program. We have a different mindset now, camp is done, now its on to game-playing weeks.
Holtz and his players have settheir eyes on the regular season and the opportunity to remove the bitter taste from their mouths after a frustrating 2011 campaign.
Of course were excited, se- nior running back Demetris Murray said. We finally get to see somebody else on the other side, instead of Sam Barrington or DeDe (Lattimore) or Mike Lanaris across the ball from us.
Holtz said the team has done what they were looking to do on the physical aspect of the game, and are now in the process of preparing themselves mentally.
I think theyre ready to startplaying somebody other than themselves; I think theyre tired of hitting each other, Holtz said. Most of the hard work is done. We may have another day in pads, but now its mostly just a lot of mental work.
Redshirt freshman Max Lang said he believes camp is a necessary part of the teams preparation, but is happy to be on the other side.
Camp was, well, camp is camp, he said. We wouldnt have it any other way. There was a lot of hitting, very intense. You dontnecessarily enjoy it, but its something you need.
The Bulls have moved to mental preparation, a process that, Murray said, is as important for game week as physical preparation.
We just came off of camp, so now well be in shorts for a couple of practices, he said. We have to be mentally sharp.
Holtz said the first game week brings with it a change to the teams approach.
Now is when we get into playing with wins and losses, he said. Were getting into the season; the mindset is now a 1-0 mentality.
Though each individual has their own interpretation of the impor- tance and value of summer and fall camps, the team as a whole is ready to begin the season.
Its good to be back to campus and game week, redshirt freshman backup quarterback Matt Floyd said. Weve been hitting each other for the past few months, so itll be nice to play against someone with a different-colored jersey.