Day One for the quest for the MAC Championship began for the Toledo Rockets with the opening of football training camp Wednesday, Aug. 5.
The Rockets will have two split-squad practices today through Friday, then begin full-team practices Saturday.
Fourth-year Head Coach Matt Campbell’s squad was picked to win its first MAC Championship since 2004. Campbell said the next four weeks will be critical if the Rockets are to achieve that goal.
”The first day of camp is an exciting time,” said Campbell, who has a 26-13 record in three seasons as head coach. “We’ve been working toward this for seven months and now we’re ready to go. We know we have a chance to be very good this season, but we also have a lot of work ahead of us. The next 29 days lays the foundation for the season. Great competition and focus in training camp will help us get ready.”
He said the first few practices usually focus on the basics.
“We split into two equal groups for the first three days and really focus on teaching,” Campbell said. “We review the basic offense and defense, but we are mostly working on technique. Then on Saturday we bring the full team together and really get into the full grind.”
Toledo welcomes back 46 letter winners and 15 starters from last year’s team that went 9-4 overall, 7-1 in conference play.
The Rockets shared the West Division title and chalked up an impressive 63-44 win over Arkansas State in the GoDaddy Bowl. The UT offense will be paced by junior running back Kareem Hunt, who rushed for 1,631 yards and 16 touchdowns in only 10 games last season. Defensively, Toledo returns eight starters, including senior defensive end Trent Voss, who had 77 tackles and 15 tackles for loss in 2014, and a pair of All-MAC tackles, senior Orion Jones and junior Treyvon Hester.