SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As the Sacramento State football team nears the midway point of training camp, the team received good news on Tuesday when head coach Marshall Sperbeck let them know that Wednesday would be an unexpected off day. With the break in the action, here's a quick look at what's been happening (and what's ahead) around camp.
BEE A HORNET
The annual event will take place on Saturday, Aug. 17, following the team's first scrimmage which begins at 9 a.m. Sacramento State players and coaches will take children 12 years old and younger through different drills on the field. Players and staff will also be signing autographs. There will also be a free photo booth available to all fans.
GRAB YOUR TICKETS
Living Social and Amazon Local are both running promos for discounted season tickets. For just $99 fans can purchase seats in selected sections on the west side of the stadium for all six games. To purchase season tickets, click HERE.
Single game tickets are also now on sale and can be purchased online HERE or at the Sacramento State ticket office. This season, fans who purchase prior to game day will receive a discount.
The two major Football Championship Subdivision polls both debuted during the week and each featured the Hornets among the vote getters. Sacramento State received 44 votes in The Sports Network poll which placed it 37th overall. The team was 50th in the FCS coaches poll. Two-time defending FCS champion North Dakota State earned the top spot in both polls.
The Hornets are scheduled to face Cal Poly (14th), Northern Arizona (18th) and Montana (20th) during the year but will avoid Montana State (2nd) and Eastern Washington (4th) during the regular season. The preseason slate features San Jose State and Arizona State, who are both receiving votes in the USA Today preseason poll as well as Southern Oregon who's ranked 14th in the preseason NAIA poll.
Tyrone Duckett showed off his best Bo Jackson impersonation over the weekend. Duckett, who is in his first season with the team after transferring from Washington State, has seen time at defensive back throughout the first week of camp. On Sunday night, he crushed the rest of the team in the annual bowling night at Country Club Lanes with a score of 225. Included in that total was seven consecutive strikes.
JUST KICKIN' IT
A couple of the more interest position battles in the early part of camp have come on special teams where Brad Cornish and Jesse Aguillar are fighting for the kicking job and Justin Weldon and Smith Heath are vying for the start at punter. The left-footed Cornish saw action last season on kickoffs but did not attempt a field goal or extra point. Aguillar was a first team JC All-American at Fullerton College where he made 13 field goals and was 52-of-52 on extra point attempts.
Weldon and Heath split time last season and have had equal reps in training camp. Weldon, who's a lefty, averaged 42.8 yards per punt while Heath averaged 36.7 in 2012.
New offensive line coach Bill Laveroni has spent his professional career working with large humans. With stops at Cal, Vanderbilt, the Seattle Seahawks and the UFL, Laveroni has coached some of the game's best including future Hall of Famers Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson.
While the hall of fame status of his current unit has yet to be determined there is no doubting its size. The projected starting line of Lars Hanson, Tyler Worthley, John Wallace, Derek Nielsen and Aleksandar Milanovic as well as backups Adam Murray and Derek Stickney averages 6-foot-5 and 298.6 pounds.
The freshmen aren't much smaller with Casey Dakin (6-3, 275), Pailake Aiono (6-2, 310), Andrew Admire (6-5, 255), Jonathan Bade (6-5, 240), Rajaee Jordan (6-5, 260) and Pu'e Togia (6-2, 275).
IN THE NEWS
During the first week of camp, the Hornets have had visits from the Sacramento Bee as well as the State Hornet. KCRA 3 and KTXL 40 have also sent crews out to capture the action.
One of the questions that has been posed the most to Coach Sperbeck has been about the play of several of the local freshmen. Among those who've received rave reviews so far has been cornerback Marcus Green (Franklin HS), linebackers Cole Hannum (Nevada Union HS) and Russell Smith (Del Oro HS) and tight end Stone Sander (Placer HS).
Another activity that has kept the team entertained during camp was a trip to see "Fruitvale Station" on Tuesday night. The film was written and directed by former Hornet receive Ryan Coogler.
Last week also marked the start of the NFL exhibition season. Zack Nash was credited with three tackles in a 14-0 win over the Green Bay Packers. McLeod Bethel-Thompson completed 4-of-9 passes for 26 yards in Minnesota's loss to Houston.
PUTTING NAMES TO THE FACES
One of the new features of the redesigned hornetsports.com is the ability to see all the faces on the team in one spot. Just click the roster link at the top of the page and select "Headshot View" to take a look at the 2013 team.
Along with hornetsports.com, fans can like Sacramento State football on Facebook as well as on Twitter (@sachornetsfb) for thorough updates throughout the season. Both pages feature photos and behind-the-scenes video of the team. Hornet fans are also encouraged to use #StingersUp and #BigSkyFB with their posts.