The Cal Poly football team wrapped up its first week of fall camp on Saturday with a full pads practice.
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The Mustangs will play South Dakota at home on Sept. 18.
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Following the conclusion of the seven-day acclimatization period, the Cal Poly football team finished off its first week of Fall Camp on Friday at Doerr Family Field, completing its first practice session with all of the gear on—helmet, shoulder pads, and full pads.
With a couple of very brief skirmishes during drills, emotions were running a little high, but that’s to be expected when 118 players who had been running, passing, receiving, and lifting weights without contact for the last four months since the abbreviated spring season ended were blocking and/or being tackled for the first time.
Second-year Mustang head coach Beau Baldwin acknowledged, “We usually have a little amount of emotion like that.” “You have to be on the edge at all times. Now, if it gets to be too much, we’ll stop training and go for a run.
We’re going to get through this together, Atascadero
“And if we don’t have any of it, you might be in danger as well,” Baldwin said. “And we warned the players that anything that exits the field is a zero-tolerance policy. That is the most important factor. That will not be tolerated.”
What Baldwin can live with is the improvement his squad has made, thanks in large part to Jordan Davis and the rest of Cal Poly’s strength and conditioning staff’s four-month offseason strength and conditioning program.
“I believe we’ve made a lot of improvement in terms of muscular endurance,” Baldwin added. “I know I’ve said it before, but Coach Davis and his strength staff put in a real offseason. He did such an incredible job bringing these men to the point where you can see some of their muscles, strength, and fitness withstand an hour and a half, an hour and 45 minutes of practice. That’s what I’m most looking forward to.
“Obviously, there are things we always need to address at camp,” Baldwin continued, “but our players are in a better position physically and psychologically as a result of the work they’ve put in over the past four months.”
Cal Poly’s Spring Camp, which featured a 17-day hiatus owing to COVID-19 procedures, as well as a three-game spring season in which the Mustangs went 0-3 and were outscored 169-58, and the players’ performance one week into a three-week Fall Camp preparation for the 2021 season, are stark contrasts.
“The biggest difference is that we got into moments later in practice in spring ball— again, we didn’t have that full offseason coming into it— we got into moments later in practice where we felt we were just trying to survive in those three games,” Baldwin said. “We’re going to have an advantage now.”
Baldwin said, “We’re honing each other.” “Obviously, we have a lot of fresh faces, but competition develops the best in individuals, and iron sharpens iron. We have a lot more competition than we had last spring at every position, which is exciting.”
Aside from the obvious changes—moving from the Triple Option to various offensive settings this fall, a new quarterback calling signals (the six-man fight is far from over), and many defensive personnel adjustments—Baldwin and his staff have shifted several players into new positions.
Quentin Harrison, who has 27 receptions in Cal Poly’s past 14 games, including seven for touchdowns, is switching from wide receiver to tight end, while Michael Roth, who caught four passes last spring, switches from tight end to wide receiver.
In addition, Charles Lincoln, a graduate of San Luis Obispo High School, has moved from the defensive front to the offensive line, Dylan Krauss has moved from wide receiver to cornerback, and newcomer Sky Ellis has moved from tight end to defensive line.
Ryan Rivera, who started his collegiate football career as a linebacker, moved to fullback at Cal Poly in 2019 and is currently a tight end.
All of the movements were rated as “overall, very solid” by Baldwin. “I believe that everyone is in the greatest position to succeed and help us win right now. Who knows, maybe we’ll have to relocate one or two more people at some time. Right now, we’re in a good place. I’m just searching for the perfect match, the appropriate place to call home.”
Baldwin and his staff welcomed 48 returning lettermen last week, including 23 offensive lettermen, 21 defensive lettermen, and four special teams specialists. There are 26 players back who started at least one game during the abbreviated spring season, with 13 starting on both attack and defense.
There are also 31 players who were redshirted or injured last spring, as well as almost 40 newcomers, including up to eight transfers from other four-year institutions, on the fall roster.
Fall Camp sessions take place Monday through Friday at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at 4 p.m., there will be two-hour walk-throughs with footballs allowed. On Aug. 20 at 9 a.m. and Aug. 27 at noon, full scrimmages will be held.
The second scrimmage concludes fall camp, and preparations for Cal Poly’s season opener against San Diego on Sept. 4 will begin on Aug. 29. The opening game is scheduled to begin at 2:05 p.m. The Mustangs will play South Dakota at 5:05 p.m. on Sept. 18 at home. Alex G. Spanos Stadium is located within the Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
Season and single-game tickets are available for all five Cal Poly home games. For additional information and/or to buy tickets, go here.
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