PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas – Football season officially began this evening as the Prairie View A&M Panthers hit the gridiron for their first official practice of the 2011 campaign under head coach Heishma Northern.

The Panthers welcomed 95 players to campus starting on Monday as Northern and staff kicked things off with a team meeting. This morning, the fun began as the players were issued equipment and conducted unit meetings before stepping foot on the practice field Tuesday evening in helmets and shorts.

“I think the first practice went pretty well,” said Northern. “We suffered no injuries, our tempo was good and there were big plays on both sides of the ball. We’re looking forward to getting better everyday.”

Prairie View A&M will practice at 7 p.m. through Friday evening. On Saturday, the Panthers will don full pads for the first time as they’ll hit the field at 2 p.m. Two-a-days will commence on Monday, Aug. 15 as they’ll practice at 8:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. with the first scrimmage slated for Friday, Aug. 19.

With several days in shorts and helmets, Northern said the Panthers will focus on the little things to ensure a smooth transition into pads.  “I want to make sure we’re not blowing major assignments on both sides of the ball,” he said. “I want to practice the right way to avoid penalties as if we can avoid penalties, we’ll have a pretty good football team.”

The Panthers kick off the 2011 season in the annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge versus Bethune-Cookman University on Sunday, Sept. 4 at 11 a.m. in Orlando, Fla. live on ESPN.


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