MARQUETTE - With the sun shining, temperatures in the high 70s and a cool breeze blowing in off Lake Superior, Northern Michigan University head football coach Chris Ostrowsky said he wouldn't mind being outside Saturday for the team's first official practice.
The Superior Dome, however, is just too good of a learning atmosphere for the second-year head coach to pass up - even in its hot, muggy and breezeless state.
"The thing about the Superior Dome is, it's an awesome teaching tool," Ostrowsky said after the team completed its first official practice of the season, lasting just over two-hours. "The video is first class when we're inside. You're able to really do a great deal of teaching, so we're going to take advantage of an indoor field. The weather doesn't play much into it."
Northern Michigan University junior running back Wyatt Jurasin, left, out of Ishpeming High School runs around a teammate on Saturday inside the Superior Dome during the Wildcats’ first official practice of the 2013 preseason. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
The Wildcats are schedule to practice inside the Dome again at 3:30 p.m. today - despite a similar forecast - to finish up installing the offense and defense. Once the full pads go on later in the week, Ostrowsky will let the team outside to play.
"We came out today and did a really good job of learning the install and executing," Ostrowsky said. "There's a lot of stuff to learn. We'll keep throwing things at them and see how they react."
Senior starting quarterback Cody Scepaniak said despite the amount of youth on the field, he's "never seen so much talent at Northern."
He admitted it will still take a few days for the team to fully gel and that conditioning is a need.
In the meantime, Scepaniak is trying to offer his teammates as much encouragement as he can, especially to his new teammates who are trying to grasp everything being thrown at them this weekend.
"It's easy to get discouraged because its a lot to learn. It's a tough offense to learn. These guys get a lot thrown at them the first couple days.
"If they get down on themselves, that doesn't help anybody. Yelling at them is not going to help."