CHARLESTON, S.C. - The rain held off and the skies cleared for Charleston Southern football as the Buccaneers opened up fall camp under the lights on Buccaneer Field on Friday night. Head Coach Mark Tucker and the Bucs opened up the first of 14 practices in the preseason camp slate as CSU builds toward the season-opener at Florida.
The Bucs worked out in shorts and helmets and will do so again on Saturday before moving to shells on Monday. CSU's first full-contact practice is scheduled for Wednesday at 2:55 p.m.
Tucker, heading into his second season at the helm for the Bucs, looks forward to seeing the continued relationships develop between the players and staff heading into the 2018 season.
"I feel very good about our young men," Tucker commented, "We have a staff that's been in place here for a year and a half, so the newness isn't going to be new anymore. We're familiar with the players and they're familiar with us. The relationships between all have been solid and we've had a chance to bond, blend, and develop over time."
The Bucs enter preseason camp picked third overall in the Big South Conference Preseason Football Poll as announced at the conference media day in Charlotte this past week. CSU returns 18 starters from last season's team with 10 players recognized with preseason All-Conference accolades.
One of the aforementioned All-Conference selections, redshirt senior defensive lineman Solomon Brown, heads into his final camp with the Bucs. Even after going through camp each of the last four years, the butterflies are still there for the Central, S.C. native.
"I think the butterflies for camp are still there, but it's a little bit different this year," Brown said. "Being my last go-round, I'm just trying to enjoy every moment with the guys around. When it's game time, I'm ready and it doesn't matter who it is. Success follows hard work and I'm going into this season looking to work that much harder. Since it's my last season, I have to make it special."
CSU will look to make strides and continue its success in 2018. The Bucs posted a 6-5 record in 2017 with key wins over Gardner-Webb, Presbyterian, and a season-finale win against FBS-bound Liberty. It marked the fifth consecutive winning season for the Bucs dating back to 2013.
Tucker and company are seeking to make the most of the time through morning walkthroughs and afternoon practice sessions as they look to challenge once again for the Big South crown.
"We have to stay healthy," Tucker said. "We don't have the known depth that we've had the last few seasons, but we've recruited very, very well. We have the ability to compete within our conference. It's up to us to see how far we can go."
For now, day one of camp is in the books and Tucker looks forward to the next two weeks as the team continues to prepare for kickoff in Gainesville on September 1.