You could hear the sincerity in the voice of KSU football coach Darrell Hazell as Friday's practice came to a close.
With his players gathered in a circle around him following their first practice in pads, Hazell told them this: "It's been a great start this week. We're well beyond where we were last year at this at this time."
A few minutes later and after he'd addressed a group of freshmen, the Golden Flashes second-year coach expounded on the thoughts he'd shared with the team.
"It seems like we have so much of a better understanding of what we're trying to accomplish," he said. "Not only scheme wise, but tempo wise, being on time for things. All those little things you have to coach the first year, you don't have to put as much emphasis on those things because they're doing them on their own."
Understand, there's still a lot of things Hazell said "we've got to get corrected" with three weeks to go in camp.
"We put a lot more stuff in today than we did the first two days and you could see it,' he said. "That slowed them down a little bit."
In particular, Hazell pointed out the play of senior quarterback Spencer Keith.
"He looks really comfortable," Hazell said. "i think he's seeing things a lot better, he's slowing the game down and he's making some good throws. He's got people in his face a little bit and he's able to handle the duress. So, he's had three really good practices ths far."
Others who Hazell pointed to as having a good first week:
"(Linebacker C.J. Malauluu is running around really good," he said. "And (offensive lineman) Josh Kline is in mid-season form. Then those two running backs, Trayion Durham and Dri Archer, being able to see those guys together, it's going to be a big plus for us."