The Owls held their first practice at the KSU Sports and Recreation Park, bringing a long coaching drought — aside from various team and prospect camps — for Brian Bohannon and his coaching staff to an end.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Bohannon, who was hired in March 2013 after serving as an assistant at Georgia Tech. “The last time I coached a game was the (Sun Bowl) on Dec. 31, 2012. It was great to be out here, just with a chance to coach.”
Nearly 80 players took part in the 1-hour, 15-minute workout, which was limited to conditioning, fundamentals and position drills. Bohannon said workouts like Tuesday’s will take place for the next two weeks, which will be followed by a week of weight-training. Then, on Sept. 8, players will don pads for the first time.
“Right now, we’re getting guys in shape,” Bohannon said. “You get to find out a little bit about your team, and we’re always evaluating. We’re going to try to teach (fundamentals) every day leading up to Sept. 8.”
Former Kell High School standout Taylor Henkle, a member of Kennesaw State’s first signing class in February, said it was good to finally have a chance to hit the field as a team.
“It was a great experience,” Henkle said of his first official college practice. “It doesn’t compare to what you try to get done on your own. As a team, the first day was a success.”
Henkle, who started all four years in Kell’s defensive backfield, said the other positive aspect of finally getting to practice is it will allow him to settle in on a schedule.
“It’s all about getting into a routine,” he said. “You get up at the same time every day. You eat at the same time, and I’ve really been working on my diet to make sure I’m eating the right things.”
Kennesaw State will practice each week during the fall season, but it won’t take the field for its first game until Sept. 3, 2015, when it travels for its inaugural game at East Tennessee State.
“Right here, we’re building the foundation. From here on, we get better every day,” Bohannon told his team
For the KSU players, the first workout could not have come in much easier conditions. Overcast skies and cool temperatures in the low 70s made for an easy workout, but Bohannon may have wished it was a little warmer — not so much for his players, but for himself.
Bohannon and offensive coordinator Grant Chesnut accepted the ice bucket challenge — a popular campaign designed to raise awareness and money for ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease — and each was drenched with a large cooler of ice and cold water.
Bohannon was challenged by Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson, his former boss with the Yellow Jackets and previous stops such as Navy and Georgia Southern.
“I can’t back away from a challenge made by coach Johnson,” said Bohannon, who went on to challenge Kennesaw State baseball coach Mike Sansing and West Alabama football coach Brett Gilliland, who worked with Bohannon at Georgia Tech and briefly worked on his staff at Kennesaw State before accepting the head-coaching position.
University president Dan Papp and athletic director Vaughn Williams accepted their own ice bucket challenges at a separate ceremony on the campus green, drenched by KSU cheerleaders, women’s basketball coach Nitra Perry and women’s golf coach Rhyll Brinsmead. Among the challenges laid out by Williams were Atlanta Falcons CEO Rich McKay, and the remaining athletic directors and university presidents of the Atlantic Sun Conference.