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Good omen greets Hawks

MURFREESBORO – Is there a pot of gold awaiting the first-ever football version of the Chowan University Hawks?

If what was hanging over their practice field here Thursday afternoon is any indication, perhaps the Hawks can cash in on a great season.

A rainbow arched over the eastern horizon, the product of a summertime shower that did briefly take the edge off the temperature.

&uot;I’ll take that as a good omen,&uot; head coach Lorick Atkinson said as he and his staff guided the Hawks through the first practice of the season.

In all, the second-year football general led nearly 100 players onto the field Thursday evening as the Hawks prepare for the 2006 gridiron campaign.

&uot;We came back in a little better shape than a year ago,&uot; Atkinson said. &uot;We’re excited about our size. We have a little more size than we did last year.&uot;

The coach said he his team was a little more athletic than they were a season ago.

&uot;We’ve got a little more athleticism,&uot; he said. &uot;We’re a little faster.&uot;

Practice started in helmets Thursday with Friday’s session being the same before Saturday and Sunday will see the team in helmets and shoulder pads per NCAA regulations.

The first full-contact practice will be Monday morning.

&uot;We’ll really get after in Monday,&uot; the coach said.

The Braves will practice today (Saturday) at 9 a.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. The public is invited to the practice sessions.

Chowan opens the 2006 season August 31 with a trip to Western Carolina University.

(Sports Editor Thadd White contributed to this story.)