JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – The Carson-Newman Eagles and head football coach Ken Sparks began preparations for the 2011 football season, as the C-N football team opened fall camp on Wednesday morning in the Carson-Newman campus.
The Eagles, 175 in all, will be the 32nd edition of a Sparks-coached C-N team.
The long-time C-N head coach enters the 2011 season with 294 career wins, six shy of becoming only the 14th college coach to reach the 300 career-victories plateau. After 32 seasons, the process of building a team through three weeks of fall camp isn't lost on Sparks.
"We are in the same position every team in the country is in right now," Sparks said in his morning address to the team. "The team that uses their time the best will get ahead. Our goal this camp is to become one team and one fight, sacrificing ourselves for the team."
On the field, the Eagles find themselves with a number of questions heading into fall camp, as well as in an unfamiliar position.
For the first time in 24 season, C-N is not the preseason favorite in the South Atlantic Conference, due in large part to questions at quarterback and a 7-4 record a season ago.
"We have a lot of question to answer over the next three weeks," Sparks said. "We have to be ready to play a ballgame Sept. 1 on the road, but this is a group of young men that I think is hungry and will be focused on the process of becoming a Carson-Newman football team."
The Eagles will have a conditioning test on Thursday morning in Burke-Tarr Stadium before working out in helmets and shorts for their first practice in the evening.
Carson-Newman will don full pads for the first time on Monday morning for a 9:30 a.m. practice.
The Eagles open Sept. 1 at Glenville State (W.Va.) College. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.