ABILENE -- The ACU Wildcats wrapped up their first four days of summer camp Sunday afternoon with a spirited workout at the Wally Bullington Practice Facilty.
Despite the blistering heat (temps hovering around 115 degrees on the turf practice field), the Wildcats were able to get in four practices before starting work in full pads on Monday. ACU practiced once a day on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday before going one more time on Monday (4 p.m.). ACU will practice twice Tuesday (8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.) before working out one more time Wednesday (4 p.m.).
The Wildcats will have a walk-through practice Thursday at 8:30 a.m. before a game-like scrimmage Thursday at 8 p.m. at Shotwell Stadium. After Sunday's practice, ACU head coach Chris Thomsen offered his thoughts on a few items concerning his team:
On practicing in the extreme heat: "Our guys have shown a lot of toughness and have maintained a good concentration level, despite the intense heat. We've had a couple of guys have some issues with the heat, but nothing severe. The training staff (led by heat trainer Cory Driskill and assistant trainer Luke Sauber) have done a great job staying on top of everything and making sure everyone is safe out there."
On the first four days of practice: "The thing I've probably been the most pleased with is the play of our secondary. That was a big question mark going into the season, but they've played well. I'm happy with the returning guys -- James Williams, Richard Havins and the others -- they've had good camps. The new guys have been able to mix in really well. David LaMour and Darien Williams have really come along and made some plays for us back there."
On the play of the receivers: "The older guys -- Edmund Gates, Raymond Radway, Chris Fowler and Kendrick Johnson -- have done a good job of setting a tone for the rest of that group. We moved Darrell Cantu-Harkless to receiver from running back, and he's done some good things. Two of our redshirts -- Taylor Gabriel and Darian Hogg -- have played well and shown us some things."
On the play of quarterbacks Mitchell Gale and Clark Harrell: "I've seen each of those guys improve every day. They're both working really hard and trying to get better each day. We need both of them playing well because we're probably going to need them both during the season."
On the play of newcomers: "Logan Hoppenrath has shown us some good things on the offensive line, and T.R. Varnado (freshman defensive tackle from Stephenville) has played well. We'll know a lot more about those guys after the scrimmage Thursday night."
WILDCAT FOOTBALL NOTES:
* A couple of players -- Bryce Mueller and Kolby Rowe -- were wearing gold helmets on loan from Abilene High School because ACU ran out of extra-large helmets. Driskill said ACU has ordered a few more helmets and they should be in later this week.
* Gale continues to work mostly with the No. 1 offensive unit, while Harrell takes snaps with the No. 2 unit.
* Starting running back Reggie Brown looks like he's bulked up some, and he made two really nice runs in Sunday's 11-on-11 drill at the end of practice. ... Radway and Harold Jackson -- former ACU track and field standouts -- have returned from injury and have performed well.
* The Chris Thomsen Show will have a new home in 2011 as it moves over to KTXS-TV after three years on KRBC. The show's new start time will be at 11 a.m. each Saturday on KTXS-TV.
* In case you missed it, former Wildcats Bernard Scott and Johnny Knox had nice games in their respective team's games Saturday night. In the Cincinnati Bengals' 33-24 win over Denver, Scott led the Bengals in rushing with 65 yards on eight carries (long of 48 yards) and had two catches for 48 yards (long of 46 yards. Go to this video tab to find highlights of his 48-yard late second-quarter run and his third-quarter 46-yard catch-and-run. ... In Chicago's 25-10 loss at San Diego, Johnny Knox -- working with the No. 1 offensive unit -- looked the part of Jay Cutler's go-to receiver as he caught both of Cutler's completions for 47 yards before calling it a night. ... Go to the video tab for the highlights of this game; the two Cutler-to-Knox completions are the first two plays on the clip. ... Chicago strong safety and former Wildcat great Danieal Manning dressed for Saturday night's game at San Diego, but did not play because of a sore hamstring.