The Thunderbird football team broke in the Hellas Matrix surface in Eccles Coliseum Wednesday morning with a 6:00 a.m. practice, and from all accounts, the project is a success.
“I’m excited, I’ve missed it,” junior defensive end Kouri Jones – who played on artificial surfaces in high school back home in Texas – noted. “I love it.”
“I think the players really enjoyed it, they were out a half-hour early, practice started at 6:00, guys were out here at 5:30 running around and really enjoying themselves,” SUU Coach Ed Lamb said. “My guess is that those who aren’t going straight to class are going to continue to stay out here and work for another hour.”
“It’s awesome, I love it,” senior quarterback Brad Sorensen said. “Everybody takes pride in it. It’s something to be proud of, something to look forward to coming out here and playing on every day.”
“It’s very nice. We play every game on turf, so now we’re not practicing on grass then going to turf, so we’ll be on it all year, getting used to it, there’ll be no advantage for our opponents any more,” junior offensive guard Gavin Farr pointed out.
“This feels better than any turf I’ve been on, I think it’s a fantastic product,” Lamb added. “The way Eli [Smith] takes care of our fields, this time of year the fields are in really good shape. The biggest difference we’re going to feel is when we get into November and December and January, and the team’s in the playoffs, and then training for next season in the off-season, that’s when this turf is really going to pay off.”
As far as the practice itself went, the consensus was that the change was welcome.
“I love it, especially under the lights, get up early, get going, done for the rest of the day,” Sorensen noted.
“I loved it, I thought it was a good change-up,” Farr said. “Everyone brought a great amount of energy, and everyone brought it today, so you can’s ask for anything more than that.”
“I think it was great, intensity of practice, the enthusiasm, was really good,” Lamb observed. “We can’t rely on a new field being a reason to get excited about practice every day, but for today it was awesome.”