By Kelly McHugh
For the K-State football program, August 2 is a day that marks new beginnings. The slate ahead is clean; the 2013 season begins today.
"Right now we're in kind of the honeymoon stage," senior linebacker Tre Walker said, "but when August starts, and everybody reports, that's a special day. Depth charts start over, we find out who's actually going to be playing, people start coming back for school, you really feel the atmosphere fill up."
The first day back, the players attend meetings and check into the dorms, their 'home away from home' during the two-week camp where they will be staying as a team. Senior safety Ty Zimmerman said today is the day that "sets the tone for the rest of the camp" because the following day is when the team's intense practices will begin - practices that will shape the players into the performers head coach Bill Snyder knows they can be; practices that will help determine who fans will be watching under the lights of Bill Snyder Family Stadium on August 30, at 7:30 pm when K-State kicks off its 2013 season against North Dakota State.
For Zimmerman, the excitement of summer coming to an end has already set in.
"It's crazy, the summer has flown by," Zimmerman said. "I feel like we've made a lot of improvement, but we've still got a long ways to go. During this time, as it gets closer, you start seeing a lot of football stuff on ESPN and around the news, so you really get antsy getting ready, getting ready to put on the pads and everything."
Before they get to put on the pads, and before the training begins, the team will reunite in its two-week home: the dorms.
"On August 2 everyone's traveling from all over the country and coming back in town," senior linebacker Blake Slaughter said. "We've been off for a few days, we show up at the dorms and everyone has their game face on. We know that this is the beginning.
"It's kind of an eerie feeling in town because no one's here, but you take things in stride. You're moving in the dorms, with a bunch of guys, and it just makes it that much more real, it makes it intense because it's just all football all the time at that point."
While it may be all football, all the time, Zimmerman said the players have a few traditions of their own that keep the mood light while bonding.
"We do a lot of activities in (the dorms) just on our own," Zimmerman said as he flashed a smile and laughed before continuing on. "The tradition that's kind of caught on since I've been here is giving haircuts to all the new guys. That's been a lot of fun."
Walker agreed the living situation during camp was one that brings the team together and makes them a closer family of athletes.
"The dorms are something else," Walker laughed, perhaps he was also thinking about giving newcomers outlandish hairstyles. "It's kind of like a start-over phase, I know we say that a lot, but coming in the dorms is a fresh start: you're not at home. It brings everyone together, breaks those molds to build us back up again. It's a great time; a lot of things happen within the team, we do a lot together. It's a great experience."
There's no going back now; August is here. Summer training sessions are over, and when the 105 Wildcat football players report for camp today they will look to fill their blank slates with nothing but the good.
Kickoff is, in fact, only 28 days away.
We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact Kelly McHugh or K-State Assistant AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.