The road to New Orleans starts this Sunday when your Titans take the practice field. Training Camp for the Tennessee Titans begins this Sunday. I highly suggest you go to training camp at least once, just for the experience of seeing the players you see on TV every Sunday up close and in action. There is literally no way to get closer. Oh yeah, and it's free. That's right, it costs you completely nothing to go to training camp, as long as you can get to Nashville. This serves as an insider's guide for anyone who has never been to training camp before.
Sunday, July 29 --
Tuesday, July 31
Thursday, Aug. 2
Friday, Aug. 3 Thursday, Aug. 9 Monday, Aug. 13 Tuesday, Aug. 14 Wednesday, Aug. 15 Sunday, Aug. 19
This year there are quite a bit more evening practices than past years. That makes the heat that much more bearable.
One of these days, we will have an MCM meetup. Let's hope this year there will be more people present than just Jimmy, gramsey and I...
Titans Training Camp takes place at Baptist Sports Park. Baptist Sports Park (BSP) is a 31-acre facility in MetroCenter with three outdoor football fields, and an indoor field under the bubble. Practices held under the bubble are closed to the public. BSP's address is 460 Great Circle Road, Nashville, TN 37228. Use the map below to find out how to get there.
Where can I park?
Fan parking for training camp is across the street from BSP. Don't try to park in the parking lot of BSP, for you will surely be turned away. However, look through the fence to see some of the glamorous cars of the players. My favorite was always looking at Kenny Britt's red Dodge Challenger with Britt printed on the tires and wondering how he tried to run away from the cops with a one of a kind car with your name printed on it. There are always officials guiding you, so it's not hard to find. There are sometimes even golf carts running a free shuttle type service if you don't want to walk in the probably blistering heat.
What should I bring?
Water. Lots of water. It's going to be hot. BSP has tents set up with beverages, but they are overpriced as you would imagine ($4-$5 if I remember correctly). Don't get dehydrated. There are ambulances present in case you do, but keep drinking water.
Bring some cash. As soon as you walk through the gates, you will see a white tent on the left with all kinds of Titans merchandise. This isn't just any Pro Shop, because here they have game-worn and practice-worn jerseys for sale. Usually many are players with names I have to struggle to remember, but every now and then you'll find a diamond in the rough.
Instead of buying items to autograph at the shop at BSP, I suggest you either look online or look at some other local sporting good stores for a better deal. The popular items to get signed are autograph footballs, helmets, magazine covers, and of course, trading cards.
Bring a camera if you want to take photos, but DO NOT bring a video camera. You can be thrown out if you are caught recording footage of the players practicing. I've seen it happen.
There are bleachers to sit on, but they are a little far from the fields, so you probably want to stand at the fence, or I've seen some people bring lawn chairs.
What should I watch?
After the players warm up and stretch, in the past they go into groups for individual drills, and then the offense and defense scrimmage without any linemen. The stretches are fun because occasionally you get to hear a little trash talk and banter among the players.
Usually, running backs are closest to the fence farthest from the bleachers. Quarterbacks are the hardest to see, because they are in the middle of the field and not close to any fences. The receivers drills are my favorite to watch, because you can really tell a lot from the drills in terms of how their hands are. The kickers and punters practice anywhere in front of a field goal post. The only interesting part of their drills is watching them just barely hit Bobby the cameraman on the crane. Whatever field the offense isn't practicing on the defense will practice on.
The scrimmages are the most entertaining segments of training camp. Here you get to really see the improvement in the old players, and the potential in the rookies and other new players. I encourage you to take notes and write a fanpost on what you saw once the day is done.
After practice has concluded (you'll know it's going to be over soon as soon as you see the first player take off his jersey), a select group of 7-10 Titans players will come to the fence closest to the entrance ready to sign autographs. The autograph schedule can be found on TitansOnline.com about a week in advance. Not sure why next week's schedule has not been posted yet.
They all will have a black Sharpie on hand, so don't worry about bringing one. However, if you want them to sign with something else, such as a silver Sharpie on a dark item, bring one.
There are some people who stay at the fence waiting for autographs the entire practice. Don't waste your time standing aimlessly, it's not worth it . Go watch the players practice, and when you think they are getting done, head to the crowd by the fence.
Please be polite to the other fans present. It's not fun for anyone when everyone is pushing against the fence and squishing most of the crowd o get a star player's autograph.
Also, REMEMBER TO SAY THANK YOU TO THE PLAYERS!
What if I can't go?
Keep MCM open on your browser. We'll have open threads everyday including a live-updating widget with all of the must-follow Twitter accounts at training camp. Here's the list of the tweeters. If there are any other tweeters (twitterers?) I should add, just let me know.