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2014 Fall practice notebook: Day 1

Aug. 4, 2014

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Colorado State’s returning football players returned to a familiar ritual as they were greeted by Head Coach Jim McElwain as they took to the practice field on Monday afternoon for the first day of camp.

Veterans and newcomers were split into two groups, with the veterans taking the field from 4-6 p.m. MT and the newcomers in the indoor practice facility from 6-8 p.m. MT, in order to better acclimate the young guys.

“There was a lot of really good carryover from the spring,” McElwain said after the veterans practice. “The guys were lively but that is what you expect. We’d be disappointed if they were out here just walking around.”

McElwain does not like to single out outstanding individual performances, but he did give props to the secondary, which is returning a majority of its contributors.

“We saw some good things out of some guys, and I thought the secondary did a good job on a lot of pass stuff today, and that is something we have to continue to get better at,” McElwain said.

McElwain used the evening practice to go through expectations, drills and the pace of practices for the newcomers. On Tuesday, all players will practice together starting at 3:45 p.m. MT.

Fall Camp Notebook

Dee Hart: On Monday, Colorado State officially announced the addition of Alabama graduate Dee Hart. The running back from Orlando, Fla., has two seasons of eligibility remaining, and is eligible to play immediately for Colorado State after earning his bachelor's degree last week from Alabama, where he was originally recruited by McElwain.

“You guys obviously had an opportunity to see a new member in Dee Hart, McElwain said. “I’ve kind of known him since he was a freshman in high school and we’re really excited to give him an opportunity. I’m probably more excited than anything that he just finished his degree and he was the first member of his family to get his college degree, which I’m really proud of because that is something I promised him when I recruited him. Now we’ll give him an opportunity to go get a masters.”

(on how Hart ended up joining the Colorado State football program)
“Obviously relationships is what life is all about. I’ve known him, his family, his coaches and the people who looked after him. It was one of those deals that when the opportunity came up, they felt it would be really good for him to come here with us. His people back there trust me, know I’ll take care of him and make sure he does what is right.”

(on whether McElwain spoke to Alabama coach Nick Saban about Hart)
“He said he is a great kid and was their best special teams player. He was excited for us to have an opportunity to have a kid like that on our football team.”

Going digital: Thanks to generous donations from the Colorado State Starting Lineup, Touchdown Club and Beef Club, the Colorado State football players now have iPads that will store the playbook and give them the ability to watch film wherever they are.

“It is a lot bigger step for the coaches than it is the players, McElwain joked. “I noticed they were helping us with where some of the icons were and stuff. For them it is natural. Everything will be downloaded on that. It’ll give them a chance to get extra work at home, off the cloud, which I know nothing about. NCAA rules state they can only spend so much time here, so it gives them an opportunity, if they want, to access it from home.”

Dee Hart Quotables:

(on how Hart ended up at Colorado State)
“I got a couple guys here from my high school back at home from Dr. Phillips, Gainesy (Deionte Gaines) and Rick (Ricky Buckner - walk on punter). My coaches from back home, they had a pretty good communication with Coach Mac.”

(on his relationship with Coach Mac)
“Coach Mac has always been one of my favorite coaches I’ve ever played for. That is sincere, from the bottom of my heart. He gave me a pretty big opportunity to come and play for him and I appreciate that. We go way back, even before Alabama. He recruited me, he came to my house and told me what he wanted for me. We have a pretty good relationship.”

(on why he left Alabama)
“The opportunity was pretty good here. Alabama coach Saban is one of the best guys I’ve ever met. I was fortunate enough to graduate, the first in my family to graduate, so I was really excited about that. Coach Saban did everything in his power to help me. I had a better opportunity here, to come in and try my best to play however they need me.”

(on whether coming to CSU will allow Hart to show the type of running back he is)
“Yes sir. I’m a pretty good running back, and I’ve always been confident in myself. The guys I’m surrounded with here, we’ve been helping each other. I know the offense pretty well; J.O. (Jasen Oden) and Bryce (Peters), they’ve been helping me. It has been great coming out here and getting acclimated.”

(on what Hart wants to do for this program)
“To be honest with you, I just want to do whatever they need. Wherever they can use me that is where I want to play.”



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