Football players convene for an informal practice on campus.
On Wed., Aug. 27, the Tufts football team will hold its first official day of practice for the fall season, which begins Sept. 20 against Wesleyan. For Coach Bill Samko, the fun can't start soon enough.
"It's not even the games," he says. "It's getting to go to practice and be with those guys and teach."
Before getting to that point, however, Samko and his eight assistants have had a busy off-season. Much of the summer was spent meeting with prospective players, whether at camps hosted by colleges like Harvard and Yale or on campus visits with their families.
The rest of the summer was spent planning for the upcoming season. While that entails figuring out how best to execute needed improvements from last season, it also includes everything from drawing up minute-by-minute practice plans to coordinating travel logistics for away games.
Meanwhile, players are following their year-round workout and diet regimen established by strength and conditioning coordinator Mike Pimentel. He checks in regularly with them via e-mail to answer questions and adjust plans as need be.
Last year, the Jumbos almost tied for a first place finish in the New England Small College Athletic Conference, losing by two points in the last game of the season to Middlebury, so hopes are high for this year's performance.
"We're excited about what we think we can be," says Samko. "We're anxious to get our guys back here and get our hands on them."
The coach can't say enough good things about his players, whom he hails as having "no ego."
"I really think they're a team, not just a bunch of good players," says Samko. "Our kids amaze me, to be honest with you."
Who else is getting ready?
Profile written by Georgiana Cohen, Office of Web Communications
Photos by Alonso Nichols, University Photography.
This story originally ran on Aug. 25, 2008.