Players practiced in shorts and helmets and the defense wasn’t allowed to hit.
Still, it was hard not to be impressed the quickness with which rookie running back Christian McCaffrey hit the hole during his first training camp.
The crowd at Gibbs Stadium noticed, saving some of their loudest cheers for two plays early in practice when McCaffrey squirted through the hole and darted for long gains.
Offensive coordinator Mike Shula said McCaffrey’s innate skills are obvious – non-contact drills or otherwise.
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“His instincts show up on the field naturally,” Shula said.
McCaffrey, the No. 8 overall pick from Stanford, missed all but the final day of OTAs and minicamp because of the NFL’s rule prohibiting rookies from schools with quarter systems from participating with their new team until classes are finished.
As a result, he still has plenty to learn. Still, the first-night reviews from Shula were positive.
“He hasn’t been here. He’s got to get used to the timing, the speed, where he’s got to be, when he’s got to be there, making quicker adjustments,” Shula said. “But he’s another one for the first day, I think we were pleasantly pleased.”