After getting the better part of a day to settle in to their new digs in San Antonio, Team BC got to work on Monday with a busy slate of orientation meetings followed by their first practice as a team.
Walking into the various venues that are being utilized by the All-American Games and Football University, you can’t help but feel the electricity and the buzz in the air and that hasn’t been lost on the players.
“You kind of feel famous,” said running back Mason Swift, who is one of several returning players on Team BC. “There’s a whole bunch of stuff here about the U.S. Army Bowl and all the other games they’re showcasing.”
“You really find that Americans feel great about their football and they want to enjoy their sport.”
Another returning member of Team BC, defensive lineman Kent Hicks, couldn’t help compare this year’s experience with his past experience at the Football Canada Cup suggesting the two are light years apart.
“This is definitely way better,” said Hicks, comparing this year’s atmosphere with the 2011 Football Canada Cup in Lethbridge. “I like the feeling of being more involved.”
“With Lethbridge, you were kind of just part of the team and that was it. But here, you’re part of the whole FBU [experience]. You’re learning more and you’re meeting a lot of people.”
Many of the Team BC players will be ringing in the New Year as a group but they won’t be staying up late to celebrate because Day Two figures to be even more busier than the first.
Team BC has an early morning departure from their hotel to go watch the All-American Bowl West Team practice before heading off for their own practice – their second as a team – in preparation of Thursday’s tilt against Europe.
For the very first time as a set group, Team BC got together on the field for a full gear practice session at the Mission Concepcion Sports Park in San Antonio – a venue just a short 10 minute drive from their hotel.
The practice was more of a chance to get back into rhythm more than anything else.
“Today we tried to accomplish just getting the kids back into the routine of football after Christmas holidays and all that,” said Team BC head coach Tom Kudaba. “Most of them haven’t played for about four weeks; five weeks some of them.”
“It was a big thing to make sure they understand the plays, the defences and all that, that we can do for our first game on Thursday.”
With two more practice sessions to go before their opening game at the FBU International Games, Coach Kudaba expects more of the same at least for Tuesday.
“I think tomorrow’s going to be much like today’s practice, maybe higher tempo,” Kudaba added. “The Wednesday [practice] will be a little bit looser, a little bit lighter, because we do play the next day.”