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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Brevard College Conducts First Football Practice

The Brevard College football team held its first practice session in more than 50 years Saturday morning with 97 players participating. “We got great effort out of our players today, from the first whistle to the last sprint,” said head coach Bobby Poss at the conclusion the three-hour session that included a physical fitness test. “It was a tremendous effort. They are quick learners and followed instructions well, this enabled us to have an organized practice. In our terminology, they are ‘very coach-able,’ a solid group.”

Poss, who was hired as Head Coach in early January, pointed out that the whole effort of establishing football at Brevard College has been on an accelerated schedule and team preparation for the first game against UVA Wise on August 26 is no exception. “Effort and attitude was fantastic. As much as we were pleased with the attitude and effort today, the reality is that we have a long way to go, physically, in order to be ready to play college football against the teams on our schedule.”

According to Poss, the two major challenges faced by the coaching staff are 1) determining starting positions from among the nearly 100 new football players who reported for pre-season practice and 2) installing as much of the offensive and packages as possible in just 21 practice opportunities. “It is really too early to talk about individual players. The only thing we knew about these players coming in is what we had seen on film, and I don’t think we will be able to say much until we have body-to-body contact on Thursday. Our first full-scale scrimmage, with officials, is scheduled for Saturday morning (August 12). There is a lot of competition for position on the depth chart, but we are a long way from determining our starters.”

The morning practice session include a physical fitness test that challenged the team’s conditioning. “The fitness test this morning allows us to assess that we arrived in decent physical shape but not really where our team conditioning needs to be. But, if they work every drill and every practice like we did today, we will be ok.”

Brevard College boasts a distinguished and successful history in intercollegiate athletics, winning nine national team championships as a junior college (1934-2000). During this period, more than 200 Brevard College student athletes received All American honors. Brevard College competed in football from 1934 to 1953. After the post-war boom in college attendance and athletics participation, some of Brevard’s rivals became four-year institutions while BC and several of remaining junior college institutions made the decision to drop their football programs.

Since completing the transition to a four-year institution in 2000, the College has been an active member of the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Over the past five years, Brevard athletic teams have earned 10 conference titles and made 9 national tournament appearances.

2006 marks a pivotal year for the athletics program at Brevard College as the Tornados transition from the NAIA to NCAA Division II and add football, cycling and cheerleading as varsity sports. Last week, the NCAA notified Brevard College that it has been accepted as a provisional member. [BC began operating under NCAA Division II recruiting regulations, effective January 2006]. Participating as an independent during the provisional period, Brevard has worked out a cooperative scheduling agreement with the South Atlantic Conference and will use SAC officials for all sports.

Athletics director Tom Collins observed, “I thought today’s practice session was a very positive reflection on the outstanding job that Coach Poss and his staff have done in bringing this team from concept to reality in just eight months. It is really quite amazing what they have accomplished in recruiting this team and I am not sure anyone has ever achieved such results in such a short period. The practice was obviously well-planned organized. I am excited and believe this whole community is excited about this team and the upcoming season.”

The Brevard College Tornado Club will host a “Pigskin Pig-out Party” at 6:30 p.m. on Friday August 11. Former University of Georgia head football coach and athletic director Vince Dooley will be the special guest speaker at this festive event which will feature Brevard College coach Bobby Poss and the new Tornados football team. Attendees will be able to purchase Brevard College athletic game tickets and athletic apparel as they enjoy live music and barbeque alongside King’s Creek. WSQL 1240 AM, the official radio station of Brevard College athletics, will broadcast the event live. Tickets to the “Pigskin Pig-out Party,” which includes the barbeque dinner, are $15 for adults and $5 each for children. Tickets may be purchased from Tornado Club members or through the Brevard College Athletics Department at (828)884-8276.

General admission tickets for home football games cost $10 for adults, $5 for students, and may be purchased at the gate. Tickets may also be purchased in advance from the Brevard College Athletics Department; the Brevard College Institutional Advancement Office and the Brevard Chamber of Commerce. Tickets will be available for public distribution after August 11, 2006. All-Sports passes are distributed as a benefit to members of the Brevard College Tornado Club, based on giving level. The All-Sports Pass provides single admission to all regular season home athletic events, including home football games. A separate VIP seating area is reserved for Tornado Club members. Members may purchase additional All-Sports passes for $50 each.

The first scrimmage, scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, and other scheduled practices are open to the public. Spectators are asked to refrain from entering the practice area and to avoid interrupting the practice session in any manner.

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