No matter how many times Jeff Terrill does it, days like these just never get old.
With Starkville Academy's football season opener just over three weeks away, the Volunteers and their veteran head coach open fall practice today and Terrill admits he's once again feeling the same excitement that he experiences each year when camp opens.
"If you're a coach and still have passion for it, you're always excited at the start of football season," said Terrill. "They've all just been a great thrill for me."
Terrill, who is beginning his second full season at the top of the SA football program, enters today's first practice with a bit of a different feel than he had just one year ago.
Last year, Terrill was taking over a team that didn't record a single win in 2009.
Despite the new attitude Terrill brought with him upon his arrival at Starkville Academy, there were still plenty of questions surrounding the SA program last season.
Could the Volunteers become competitive? Could SA break its long losing streak?
The Vols answered both of those questions with a resounding 'yes' and as such, open practice today with much expectation all around.
"I think there's a really great excitement with the players and the student body and the fan support," said Terrill. "There's great anticipation of what could take place this year, so it's certainly a lot different (than last year)."
For the most part, Terrill says his club is essentially set for the 2011 season, which begins with an August 19 home game against St. Andrews.
There's not many question marks position-wise according to Terrill, but that doesn't mean that any of SA's players should come into camp with complacency.
"Certainly, at some positions, those players are going to have to prove themselves," said Terrill.
Based on the hunger created by last year's three-win season, Terrill believes his players will indeed enter practice ready to go to work.
If they do, Terrill, and everyone surrounding the SA program, has high hopes for what this year could hold in store.
"I think the whole thing is, for us, we're certainly a lot more talented than we were," said Terrill. "We have a lot more depth and more experience. We're stronger. We're even a faster team than we were last year.
"There's two things that are really going to make a difference for us. We have to demonstrate the type of leadership and maturity that it takes in order to take the next step."
Only time will tell if the Vols can develop into the club Terrill envisions.
Yet the long journey towards what could be a special 2011 begins with that first step today.
"No doubt about it," said Terrill. "We are going into this season expecting to win."