The opening weekend of college football season has arrived, and college football players are back on the daily grind of the regular season. Their days involve early morning practice, work outs, school work, watching film, healthy eating and near-constant mask-wearing.
There is no exception to the daily grind for sixth-year senior linebacker Justin Hughes.
Hughes, who sat out last year due to a season-ending knee injury during spring practice, starts his day with an early morning body check.
“I wake up, and come to [Vanier Family Football Complex],” Hughes said. “Get some treatment in just to get my knee better and the rest of my body parts. My knee, whatever is hurting me at the time, just go [to the complex] and get right.”
After getting his body checked at Vanier, Hughes checks in with his teammates to prepare for another day of practice and everything that comes with it.
“We go to practice and get right schematically and talk about the things that we are going to work on in practice,” Hughes said.
Talking about practice is one thing, but after those discussions the defense has to show up on the field.
“Then we go out and practice, and [we] get right,” Hughes said.
Football doesn’t end after practice for Hughes though. Once he gets home he studies film and mentally prepares for everything else to come before game day.
“I go and look at the things I need to work on when I am at home on my iPad,” Hughes said. “Things we need to work on as a defense and find anything that I have questions on, or what I messed up on in practice or what we messed up on as a team in practice. I get it done and get it in my head so I can prepare for Saturday.”
Classes, working out and eating a healthy diet are on Hughes’ list as well throughout the day, but the football grind truly never stops for him.
The team’s effort up to this point will finally be put to the test Saturday as the Wildcats open up their season against the Arkansas State Red Wolves at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.