Cowboys strap on full gear for first time this season

By 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.