PORTALES — Eastern New Mexico University kicked off football practice on Tuesday with 137 prospects reporting for the opening workout.
The Greyhounds are hoping to defend their Lone Star Conference co-championship of a year ago. They were picked for third in the LSC’s preseason poll.
Third-year coach Josh Lynn said he hardly feels slighted by that prediction, noting last year’s 7-3 mark (5-1 LSC) produced the school’s first winning season since 2004.
“We had one good year,” Lynn said. “Third place is probably about where we should be.”
The Hounds are tuning up for their Sept. 6 season opener at New Mexico Highlands. The home opener at Greyhound Stadium comes the following week against Adams State.
The team practiced in shorts for more than three hours in the morning, then came back for a walkthrough in the afternoon.
That schedule will continue through Friday. On Thursday, they’ll add shoulder pads and helmets before going full pads for the first time in a 9 a.m. scrimmage on Saturday at Blackwater Draw.
Lynn, with a veteran squad returning this season, said the first day went well.
“The tempo was good, the effort was good,” he said. “Everybody’s got a good attitude.
“We’re leaps and bounds ahead of where we’ve been in the past. We’re spending a lot more time on detail than we are trying to get people in the right place.”
Lynn was pleased that virtually everybody scheduled to come in this week showed up. He said perhaps five or 10 more, most of them who will be redshirted, will join the squad when school begins later this month.
Lynn said a number of players stayed in Portales for much of the summer to work out on their own.
“We had a good group of kids in the summertime,” he said. “Every week we had anywhere from 35 to 55 players lifting weights and conditioning.”
This week’s intrasquad scrimmage will be the first of three in a row scheduled for 9 a.m. starts at Blackwater Draw.