‘Waddle’ ball: Pioneers enjoy productive first football practice

Football is back at Don Drumm Stadium.

Wednesday evening was the opening practice for the Marietta College Pioneers, who have up near 140 kids out for the team this season.

While the Pios did not dress in full pads, the players did have an opportunity to get acquainted with several new coaches, as well as each other.

“It’s been great working with coach (Andy) Waddle and the staff,” said quarterback Tom Fulton. “He’s brought a lot of discipline to the team. I can definitely see some changes and we’re looking pretty good.”

Fulton, a fifth-year senior, is back after an injury-riddled 2012 season and will provide valuable experience for MC. The Pioneers will also be experienced at wide receiver and on the offensive line.

“We have a lot of returners,” Fulton said. “We have some experience on the line this year. We have some great freshman running backs, some great returning running backs. We have a lot of competition so we’ll be able to drive each other and really push each other to bring out the best in everyone.”

With so many players on the roster, Waddle has the off-season to figure out who will go where on the field once game-time arrives. There are guys competing for a starting spot at numerous positions, even under center.

“Every position is open now,” Fulton said. “It’s a new coaching staff. I can’t really say that I have a spot right now because we’re all fighting for it evenly.”

After working in individual position groups at the beginning of practice, the team had a brief 7-on-7 scrimmage. Both the offense and defense struggled at times and shined at times. One of the highlights offensively was a couple of nice grabs by senior receiver Kirby Harris, who will be counted on to be an integral part of the Pioneer offense all season long.

As you would expect from any team in its first practice, Marietta showed some rust. Fulton’s goal for the team this year is to just keep improving.

“I want to see us get better day by day,” he said. “We’re saying we’re taking it one week at a time, trying to be 1-0 every week. So every week starts a new record for us.”