ANDERSON –For 18 of the 29 times the Colts have hit a training camp site in Indiana, they have done so at Anderson University.
Each of the 18 times has been with a different cast of performers, and this year is no different.
As the team takes the playing field for a practice today at 1:50 p.m., the vast majority of the players will be doing so in an initial appearance with the team. Only 29 of the current 90 players ended last year on the active roster, and Head Coach Chuck Pagano headlines 17 new members on the coaching staff.
Spectators will need a new roster. What they have firmly in place mirrors what the organization does, too – to try to win games.
Anderson University will be the laboratory. The pace will be fast, and coaches have no margin for error.
Expectations are not lowered for players on the learning curve. The spring was filled with practice sessions and classroom work. Material was force-fed daily and in abundance. Performance expectations were high then and are accelerated now. Matching the mind-set of Pagano is Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians.
"It's up to them (players)," said Arians. "Hey, either you're going to play or you get left behind. The one thing I don't tolerate is mistakes. You have to know what you're doing to play fast. Mistakes, as many times as we've repeated things already there shouldn't be that many mistakes."
"We start every practice with an accountability sheet of mental errors, and you don't want to be on that sheet if you want to play. So we've got to get those things ironed out and just keep growing. Each day we grow."
Defensive Line Coach Gary Emanuel is one of the new coaches on staff. Emanuel enters camp with 10 linemen vying for spots on a defense that will be different in nature as the philosophy shifts more to a 3-4 alignment. Like others, he wants constant improvement.
"Well, what we just want to see is the guys continuing to get better," said Emanuel. "They're working hard. They're doing everything we're asking them. They just keep improving and keep getting better each day.
"We usually give them one or two things to focus on each day to improve on, and they have some things on their own that they want to get better at. So, (we want them) to just keep getting better each time out."
Quarterbacks Coach Clyde Christensen is in his 11th season with the club, having served as wide receivers coach, assistant head coach and offensive coordinator prior to his current role. Christensen has the same infectious football appetite as Pagano and the staff when it comes to molding a team. Like the others, he prefers a camp environment away from the home site, and Saturday he identified where he wanted to be.
"Right here. I love camp. I'm still glad we go away. I don't like staying at the facility," said Christensen. "It's fun to get the guys away. I think it's important, especially for this team because as young as we are, just to be together and just have football and relationships and coaching and ball. So this is an important and a fun two weeks."
Football is both fun and work. Defensive end Cory Redding spent the last two seasons under Pagano in Baltimore. He knows the defense that is being installed, along with knowing the method of camps in which Pagano has participated.
"It will be fun, but there will be work. Chuck will keep it loose. At the end of the day, though, it is always going to be about work," said Redding. "The intensity is going to be high, because this is all new. The first few (days) will be a little slow but when the pads come on, I guarantee you there will be some popping going on out there. It's going to be a lot of fun."
Arians is starting his 20th NFL camp, and he anticipates what lies ahead.
"Oh, I can't wait to put pads on them. I'm really tired of this soccer stuff," said Arians. "I watched the Olympics last night, but we need to put the pads on and get going and find out who's going to get physical and be the guys up front. We have a pretty good idea, we just want to see them."
COLTS ROSTER (alphabetical by position,*-rookie)
Quarterback (3) – Chandler Harnish, Andrew Luck, Drew Stanton
Running Back (6) – Vick Ballard*, Donald Brown, Delone Carter, Darren Evans, Deji Karim, Mewelde Moore
Wide Receiver (11)– Kris Adams, Donnie Avery, LaVon Brazill, Austin Collie, Quan Cosby, Jarred Fayson, T.Y. Hilton, Jeremy Ross, Jabin Sambrano, Reggie Wayne, Griff Whalen
Tight End (5) – Dwayne Allen, Coby Fleener, Dominique Jones*, Kyle Miller, Andre Smith
Offensive Line (16) – Justin Anderson* (T), Steven Baker, (T) Anthony Castonzo (T), George Foster (T), Jason Foster (G), Hayworth Hicks* (G), Ben Ijalana (G), Winston Justice (T), Jeff Linkenbach (T), Mike McGlynn (C/G), Seth Olsen (G), Joe Reitz (G), Samson Satele (C), A.Q. Shipley (C), Zane Taylor (C), Mike Tepper (T)
Defensive Line (10) – James Aiono* (E), Chigbo Anunoby* (T), Josh Chapman* (T), Antonio Johnson (T), Ricardo Mathews (T), Brandon McKinney (T), Fili Moala (E), Drake Nevis (T), Cory Redding (E), Jason Shirley (T)
Linebacker (14) – Mario Addison, Pat Angerer, Jerry Brown, Kavell Conner, A.J. Edds, Jerrell Freeman, Dwight Freeney, Tim Fugger, Mario Harvey, Justin Hickman, Jerry Hughes, Larry Lumpkin*, Scott Lutrus, Robert Mathis
Cornerback (12) – Cameron Chism, Antonio Fenelus, Buddy Jackson*, D.J. Johnson, Terrence Johnson, Brandon King, Justin King, Korey Lindsey, Jerraud Powers, Chris Rucker, Kevin Thomas, Cassius Vaughn
Safety (8) – Antoine Bethea, David Caldwell, Jermale Hines, Joe Lefeged, Matt Merletti, Mike Newton, Latarrius Thomas, Tom Zbikowski
Punter (2) – Pat McAfee, Brian Stahovich*
Placekicker (1) – Adam Vinatieri
Long Snapper (2) – Matt Overton, Justin Snow
Rookies – 26; First-Year (NFL) – 13; Players finishing 2011 season on active roster – 29; Players finishing 2011 season on injured reserve/practice squad – 9; Players on current active roster not ending 2011 with Colts – 52.