He promised 180 somewhat sleepy attendees at the Paramount Theatre Centre affair catered by Hoosier Park Racing & Casino that “we’re going to be a team to be reckoned with” this season.
He offered high praise for the team’s experience so far.
“Coming into this thing for the first time is kind of uncharted waters for me and the staff,” he told the crowd, which included Anderson Preparatory Academy’s varsity football team. “It exceeded my expectations and everybody’s expectations in the organization.”
Tuesday evening’s practice, attended by about 5,000 fans, is a case in point, he said.
“I think any time you can change up and have a night practice and get out under the lights and talk to those kids afterwards, (it) helps bring players back to their high school days,” he said.
He added that everyone is excited on the first day of training camp, but it doesn’t take long for the “training camp grind” to set in. “But the thing that makes it so good is the fans that show up,” he quickly added. “The players feed off their energy and that makes practice go faster.”
With training camp half over and the first preseason game against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium, everyone on the team wants to prove they can quickly return to competitiveness in the AFC South.
The Colts’ record last year was a dismal 2-14.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen out there. There will be mistakes made,” said Pagano, noting that 54 of the 90 players on the current team roster are either rookies or second-year players.
However, he promised the games will be exciting. “You’re going to see guys flying around, having fun, playing for each other,” he said. “There’s going to be a ton of energy.”
He said the team is itching to get back on the field and prove naysayers wrong.
“They are so eager to get back out there and make amends,” Pagano said, “because nobody is giving us a chance. They want to show the fans, this entire country and the NFL that we’re going to be a team to be reckoned with.”
Wednesday’s breakfast and a hospitality tent on the practice field every day was organized by the city to help offset costs associated with hosting the training camp.
The breakfast raised about $4,650, city officials said.
— Stuart Hirsch is a reporter for The Herald Bulletin. Story reposted with permission.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.