By the end of the second of 36 practices at training camp, Martell Mallett and Charles Scott walked off the field at Lehigh University and had to lift their dragging tongues off the green grass here. They were gassed. Exhausted. Repped out. In a span of about three hours of football, Mallett and Scott ran about 150 plays -- maybe more including the individual work -- and battled the physical and mental exhaustion that is only going to intensify moving forward.
"It's tough, but this is part of it," said Scott. "We have only two backs here, so we have to fight through it until the calvalry comes. I want to get as many reps as I can. I get tired, but I know that when the vets get here, my reps go down. I need to learn as much as I possibly can and keep pushing through it.
"But man, yeah, it's tough out there. It's altogether tough. You can't think about being tired. You are here to get your assignment and carry it out and take it play by play."
With 34 players on the practice field and a script that includes individual work, seven-on-seven drills and 11-on-11 snaps, there isn't enough time to recover. And while these players are in excellent shape and have prepared as best as they know, the truth is they really don't know what to expect in their first camps.
It's only going to become more difficult, rest assured. Once the pads go on, the weight of the world increases -- literally. Players are lugging around extra cargo, and the combination of the incredible tempo of practice, the physical nature of the action, the volume of information the players are being given and the fact that rookies have never been through such a demanding schedule conspires to beat down a player.
"You get all the reps now and that's a good thing," said linebacker Jamar Chaney. "We're all tired out here. But I'm here to win a job. Everything else takes a backseat. It is my purpose here to win a job.
"We have a lot to learn, a long way to go. This is just the beginning so you have to go out there and give it 100 percent every day, and at the same time you have to pace yourself and be ready to get after the next practice."
For a player like Kurt Coleman, training camp is another world entirely. He missed much of the spring OTAs and has since worked overtime to make up for that time. Coleman has some relief safety with Ryan Hamilton and Brett Johnson here, and every 60 seconds of deep breathing equals a better next repetition.
"They want us to go about all of business like a veteran would, which is to get into our film work, take the time to study the plays and critiquing yourself to make yourself a better player," said Coleman. "They have a lot of expectations for us rookies. The more time we spend out here developing a bond, the better we will be."
Coleman made the most of his chances while Nate Allen remained out on Tuesday until Allen agreed to terms on a four-year contract. All of those reps Coleman missed in the spring are ones he is picking up now, and he understands the benefit.
"Of course you'd like to see him here getting his reps, but he isn't here and that means extra reps for me," said Coleman. "There were times I was winded, but the more reps the merrier for me."
The critical time for the young players is when there is no practice. They need to know how to take care of their bodies and not wear out their legs. When the practices are over and the meetings are done, the rookies chill out.
"I stay off my feet. I get into the cold tub. I relax as much as I can and study or just calm down my mind," said Scott. "Today was a tough day. It was hot and the tempo was really fast, but that's why we are here. We're here to win jobs. To do that, you have to go out and be prepared every play. You don't look at the next play. You take care of your business on that play and then go from there to the next snap."