They planned to spend the weekend unpacking in their dorms and attending team meetings and orientations before capping things off with a Sunday evening barbecue at Fifth Third Bank Stadium.
“You have the first-ever football team moving in on campus. It’s an exciting thing,” Kennesaw State coach Brian Bohannon said. “Our staff has worked hard to this point, to get the kids on campus, and it’s a big day for us.”
On Monday, classes start and players will meet to get their workout gear and headshots.
Then, it will be all business starting Tuesday morning.
The team’s first official workout will commence at 9 a.m. at the KSU Sports and Recreation Park. The Owls will have just over a year to get in football shape before making their debut Sept. 3, 2015 at East Tennessee State.
“We’re going to be running, running and running,” said free safety Taylor Henkle, a former Kell High School standout who was the first local commitment to Kennesaw State. “That’s all we’re going to do Tuesday, and then we’ll go on from there. Once we’re in shape, that’s when we can start doing a lot more.”
Next week’s workouts will last about an hour, Bohannon said. He plans to put the players through sprints and agility drills before they meet with position coaches for extra teaching and training. Conditioning is expected to last two weeks before weight-training begins, and the Owls will have their first practice in full pads Sept. 8.
Fall practice will continue through Nov. 22, with an intrasquad scrimmage Oct. 11. After picking things back up in the spring, the Owls’ spring game will take place March 28 at Fifth Third Bank Stadium.
“For us coaches, we get to go out and coach and be on the grass,” Bohannon said. “That creates excitement, and I know these kids are bouncing off the walls to get going. Just having them here now, it’s another first. It means football is even closer to being played.”
Bohannon was named Kennesaw State’s first coach in March 2013. Even though he has yet to coach his first game, or conduct his first official practice, it’s been a busy 17 months.
Bohannon began assembling his staff soon after his hire, and it wasn’t long before he went out on the recruiting trail. In June 2013, South Paulding quarterback Chandler Burks became the Owls’ first commitment.
Commitment numbers continued to rise, and the Owls had 29 players by the time February’s National Signing Day came and went.
In March, coaches hosted an open tryout, and the 2015 schedule was finalized in April.
While players may have to wait a year before they have the chance to face off against another team, most don’t seem to mind having that extra year to make the transition to college.
“It’s going to feel different,” said defensive end McKenzie Billingslea, who recorded 15 sacks last season in helping McEachern reach the Class AAAAAA state semifinals last fall. “The most important part is game night, but this also gives us more time to get better. At least we’ll be undefeated, and it’s more time to prepare to prepare for our opponent, and it’s more time for us to try to get a ring in our first year.”