HELENA — Whistles, helmets banging and commendations could all be heard on Carroll College’s back football field, just southeast of Nelson Stadium, all while the sun rose in the east shortly after 7 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Conflicting class schedules did play a factor in practice’s 5 a.m. start, but aside from that, new head coach Troy Purcell wants his team on the same page early in his tenure.
“We want all our guys out here. When we go out and compete, it’s such a team game, team sport, you can’t really produce and get better when you don’t have your center or your quarterback,” said Purcell. “We want to get everyone out here to get that bond, that family, that brotherhood and develop those relationships as a team.”
Returning quarterback Kolby Killoy and running back Major Ali didn’t seem to mind getting in reps while the sun peeked over the horizon.
“Gets everyone here, gets everyone up. I feel wide awake now, despite how tired I was this morning,” said Ali. “(I’m) ready to go have a good day, get my homework done and go to class.”
“We’ve sort of been getting used to waking up early,” said Killoy. “Before this we’d been having workouts at 5 a.m., so it’s not much new. It’s just a little bit colder out than what we’re used to.”
Through three spring football practices, Purcell noted he’d seen improvements with his team and would like to pick up the tempo of practice, but the Saints’ first-year head coach knows everyone is still feeling out how to operate.
“We just get better and better each day. The coaches have to get used to each other, the guys have to get used to the coaches and the process and the tempo of practice,” said Purcell. “I’d like to increase the tempo. I don’t think we’re going fast enough right now.”
Purcell and his staff will get their opportunity to up the tempo of practice when they take to the field for the fourth time this spring on April 4.