@GWUFootball Works Through Opening Practice Of 2016 Tuesday Afternoon

Khalil Lewis
Khalil Lewis

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BOILING SPRINGS – Gardner-Webb hit the practice fields for the first time Tuesday afternoon, working through 25 periods in helmets.

The Runnin' Bulldogs stepped onto the lower fields at 3:00 pm for pre-practice drills, gathered for stretching moments later and got quickly into a variety of drills on both sides.

"I was pleased with the enthusiasm, as you would expect on Day One," said head coach Carroll McCray, who enters his fourth season at the helm of his alma mater. "Our offensive line looked leaner and worked well through a number of reps today. We have very good speed at our skill positions. We will build toward shoulder pads and heavier work later in the week – getting to full gear on Saturday. We have a lot of growing to do, but I was encouraged by the talent I saw on our fields today."

The team's work in the offseason with Director of Strength & Conditioning Chris McCormick has paid visible dividends, as the overall team speed available on Tuesday is cause for excitement. The gains made in overall weight and strength were evident on paper as summer workouts came to a close as well.

The squad worked in a variety of weather conditions, beginning with bright sun and typical August heat – but a stiff breeze and cloud cover cooled the middle of practice before the sun returned during 7-on-7 drills. A well-timed, cool shower arrived as the final conditioning period concluded.

After meetings on Tuesday night to continue installation, Gardner-Webb will return to the practice fields on Wednesday morning at 9:00 am.

NOTES

* Gardner-Webb has developed good depth in the secondary, with an experienced four-man rotation working at safety on Tuesday. Spencer Havird (6-2, 202, R-Jr.), Trey Lucas (5-11, 204, R-Jr.), Thomas Adams (6-2, 199, R-Jr.) and Robert McKoy (5-11, 198, So.) make up that early depth chart. McKoy, a converted cornerback, remains one of the team's most explosive athletically.

* Khalil Lewis (5-10, 215, R-So.) made the most of his time on campus over the summer, and is poised for a bonafide breakthrough at running back. The Hilton Head, S.C., native gained more than 15 pounds and lowered his 40-yard dash time to 4.42 seconds. He leads a very quick group at running back.

* Gardner-Webb lost two All-Big South Conference performers on its defensive line, but has experience returning in end Laron Glenn (6-2, 271, Jr.). New starters Josh Ramseur (5-11, 293, R-So.) and P.J. Fuimaono (6-1, 282, Jr.) provide plenty of size and gained plenty of snaps in 2015.

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