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Week 1 Done

Harding finished up its first full week of work on the field on Saturday. They will do a team-building trip to the lake today to wrap up Week 1 of preseason workouts.

Bruce Guthrie / sports@thedailycitizen.com

By Bruce Guthrie sports@thedailycitizen.com

In just 18 days, the Harding Bisons football team will open its season at home against the Henderson State Reddies.

It will be the first time the Bisons have played football since losing at Northwest Missouri in the NCAA Division 2 playoffs.

It will be the first time Paul Simmons will take the field as the Bisons' head coach.

Sunday marks the end of the first week of the preseason for Simmons and the Bisons. Saturday was the last of the on-field work leading into a leisurely team-building trip to the lake today.

Simmons' first assessment of his team was pretty simple.

"Boy, we've got a lot of guys that can run," Simmons said. "It's real obvious."

One thing that Simmons was thankful for after a week of intense football work is that lack of injuries.

"Anytime you have one week down, and really four physical days, and you're still healthy, that's a positive," Simmons said.

What Simmons and the football coaching staff have been watching are what amounts to auditions for open positions on both sides of the ball.

"We just have so many spots where there is deep competition," Simmons said as he annotated that there were eight defensive ends for two open positions. "I think that all of them have a chance to play, and that's a good problem to have. We have a lot of spots still available and that's good."

Simmons listed a number of players who have caught his attention in the first week, including a couple running backs as well as a pair on defense.

"The young kids are talented," Simmons said. "We have some really talented freshmen, that's really obvious. There are some running backs that look really good."

The two he speaks of are Cole Chauncey and Hunter VanLue.

Chauncey is a freshmen from Commerce, Georgia, while VanLue hails from Webb City, Missouri.

Ryan Robertson from Kerriville, Texas, as well as Davion Cross from Vero Beach, Florida, and Isaac Little of Tyler, Texas, were also impressive.

The Bisons will get their copies of the game plan in about a week, but when asked when prep work will begin for Henderson State, Simmons simply said, "[It started in] January."

Game 1 is at home on Thursday, Aug. 31.