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(Rick Hickman / American Press)<br>

(Rick Hickman / American Press)

Cowboys strap on full gear for first time this season

Last Modified: Monday, August 12, 2013 10:24 AM

By Alex Hickey / American Press

Football season is one step closer to becoming reality for McNeese State.

The Cowboys suited up in full gear Sunday for the first time this season, bringing just a little more oomph to the proceedings.

“Full pads gets the juices going,” said offensive lineman Antoine Everett. “It’s a little rougher than a shell. It’s nice to get some hits in. We’ve been talking (trash) all through spring, all through summer. To finally be able to go 1-on-1 and get something done (is good).”

Not surprisingly, dolers of punishment like linebacker Deonte Thompson had this one circled on the calendar.

“The first day was real rough. We’ve just been waiting on this day, to hit somebody. That’s what we’re here for,” Thompson said. “You can’t really do anything the first (few days). You just tag (guys), and that ain’t part of the game. The quarterbacks are still off-limits, and those are the ones we really want to hit. But it’ll be all right.”

Other players feel it isn’t such a huge difference from what they have already been doing.

“When we have on shells it’s pretty much the same as full pads since we don’t take each other to the ground,” said defensive end Danyel Hunter. “The sun was out so the heat took its toll. But other than that it was like a shell day.”

Hunter played with the No. 1 defense in place of Chris Loveless, who is being called day-to-day with a minor injury by coach Matt Viator.

“It was great to play with the ones, though it’s unfortunate it happened the way it did,” Hunter said. “Last season I did the same thing whenever Chris got hurt. I think I held it down pretty good.”

Viator thought the defense looked good for much of the practice.

“I figured they would be. Yesterday when we finished the offense probably made a few more plays than they would have wanted,” Viator said. “We weren’t near as sharp offensively (Sunday). We certainly have to clean up a lot of silly mistakes. But overall our defense ran good.”

The Cowboy kicking game also looked strong at the end of practice.

Both Ryan Rome and Jean Breaux connected on three field goal attempts. Rome made kicks of 30, 40 and 48 yards while Breaux hit from 30, 38 and 43.

The Cowboys will conduct their first two-a-day today, practicing at 9:40 a.m. in Cowboy Stadium before returning to the A.I. Ratcliff Practice Fields.

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