Head coach Mike McCoy has led the team on the practice field before: 10 OTA sessions, one veteran mini camp, one rookie mini camp and one full team mini camp.
But Thursday was different. Thursday was the first practice of training camp, the official beginning of the 2013 season.Photo Gallery: Mike McCoy at Training Camp |First Day of Training Camp | More Photos
“Todays practice was longer and a little bit different than the schedule we had in the offseason with the time frame and everything we were dealing with,” he said. “We threw a lot at them today and there is going to be give and take every day at camp.”
Overall, McCoy liked what he saw from the entire team. But in his post-practice session with the media, he emphasized over and over again that it was the excitement and interaction with the fans that impressed him as well.
“First I’d like to start off by saying I’d like to thank all the fans and everyone that came out today,” he began. “This is what we’re looking for here. As an organization, as players and as a coaching staff it was a great way to start. The energy and excitement; I know it’s new, but this is the way it’s got to be every day. And it was open to the public. I thank our fans. It was a great day, a great way to start training camp and a great way to start the season off. Thank you very much for doing that.”
The 2,000-plus fans in attendance, which more than doubled last year’s first open practice number, saw a hard-working team play with high energy. That is exactly what McCoy and general manager Tom Telesco have had in mind. .
The head coach has long talked about establishing the way he, and the entire team, are going to do things. For McCoy, that includes the way he coaches in practice. For his entire coaching career, he has been involved in the offense. Now that he is in charge of all three sides of the ball, he is ensuring that he has a firm grasp on what is happening with every aspect of his team.
“The role of the head coach is that you’ve got to monitor the entire football team,” he said. “I’ve been on the offensive side of the ball my entire life. From my coaching experience and everything, I’ve always been behind the offensive huddle. So it’s something I have got to learn as much as I can about not only the defense, but the special teams so that I understand exactly what they’re doing. And that’s part of the learning curve for me. I want to understand exactly what coach (John) Pagano and his staff is telling people. And it’s a great perspective also to look and see what the offense is doing at that angle. Now I have some flexibility to walk around. When you are on the opposite side of the ball, you can’t go over there. So it’s something I want to do. I want to learn a little bit more about the players so I’m going to move around the practice all the time.”
To watch McCoy first hand and help bring that fan energy and excitement he is talking about, visit Chargers Park during any of our open practice sessions. You can find the schedule right here.
Thursday Highlights of the Day
Te’o on Butler: “He’s Like a Big Brother”
Rivers: "I Feel Super Confident"
Training Camp Schedule
Be sure to check out live streams of press conferences on Chargers.com. Friday’s stream should occur around 5:00pm.