March 21, 2007

Opening day notebook

Freshmen Joe Haden and Cameron Newton are roommates, so much of Tuesday night was spent nervously talking about the opening of spring football practice. Anxiousness was expected on the first day. The months of anticipation to get on the field had ended. It was finally time to get started.

"Cam and I we were sitting up all night saying, 'it's about to be our first practice, a real practice,'" said Haden, who worked out Wednesday at cornerback. "We were just sitting there looking at each other saying we have practice tomorrow. This is for real. There's no turning back now. It feels good to finally show the coaches what you can do. To prove it to them out here. I wanted to show them I can really play."

Newton, who threw for 1,400 yards and rushed for another 1,000 last season at Atlanta (Ga.) Westlake, seemed displeased with his performance after the first day. One of nine early-entrant players, Newton said sophomore quarterback Tim Tebow helped him along the way.

"It's a big difference and a big jump from high school football and I showed that today," Newton said. "I have to pick it up. (Tebow is) just leading, that's his job. That's what he's supposed to do. He's supposed to be the leader and teach me the ropes."

Neither Newton nor junior college transfer quarterback Bryan Waggener had particularly memorable first days, but Tebow, an early entrant last spring, said the two will improve with time. A rough start is somewhat expected, Tebow said.

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