Summer is a time for fun, which for many college students involves sleeping in and relaxing.
However, there are some who define fun as waking up at six in the morning and working tirelessly in the hot August sun.
The UC Davis football program recently completed its first week of practice, in a season that is already under unprecedented circumstances.
The 2012 season marks the twentieth and final year with Bob Biggs at the helm of the program. Almost as if they are just passing each other by, Terrance Tumey will assume his role as the UC Davis Athletic Director in 2013.
The Aggies sported a 4-7 record last season, with notable victories over rival Cal Poly in the Battle of the Golden Horseshoe and over Sacramento State in the Causeway Classic.
Looking forward, UC Davis has shown hints of a promising season in its first season in the Big Sky Conference in its first week of practice.
“We take care of what we can control and that’s how we come out and work each day, it’s how you practice, how you prepare, how you push each other, how you support each other,” Biggs said.
“Our mantra is ‘win the day,’” he said. “If we do, the rest has a tendency to take care of itself and so far, the leadership and attitude has been terrific.”
The Aggies have plenty of leadership to go around, since 22 seniors and nine All-Conference players from 2012 will return to Jim Sochor field.
“I feel this team came in with some goals about how they want to practice and improve,” Biggs said. “We’ve improved within the first 11 days and made progress and that’s what you want to see.”
According to the schedule, each Big Sky team will play eight of the other conference teams. The Aggies were predicted by the Media Poll to finish 11 out of the 13 teams in their new conference.
UC Davis and Cal Poly will join familiar foe Sac State in the Big Sky, where they will face off with teams such as two-time defending conference champion Montana State and the powerhouse Eastern Washington.
The Aggies have had quite a situation at the quarterback position, one that can only have positive payoffs.
Red-shirt third-year Randy Wright and red-shirt second-year London Lacy have been taking a majority of the snaps this pre-season, as was the case last season.
Wright has been impressive in practice and has gained a lot of experience over the years, experience that may give him the nod as the regular starting quarterback.
“Randy is in a terrific rhythm the way he’s throwing the ball right now,” Biggs said. “There’s a confidence about the way he’s playing and he’s a much different player even from the one he was last year.”
Though this is a year of many firsts, it will be the end of Biggs’ colorful career as head coach of UC Davis football. Yet, Biggs is approaching this season the same way he has so many times in the past: with goals and determination to achieve them.
“I’m not approaching it any different but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m savoring every moment,” Biggs said. “Every moment I’m on the field or in meetings or interacting with players and coaches is a joy and as you wind down a career, you get much better perspective about how lucky you are to do something you enjoy.”
The Aggies will continue to practice until they kick off the season against Azusa Pacific on Aug. 30 in Davis.
MATTHEW YUEN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.