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Rockets' Beckman to bunk with team

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DETROIT - It's been quite awhile since Tim Beckman has lived in a university dormitory.

The University of Toledo football coach will get a refresher on college life, at least the residential aspect of it, when the Rockets report Wednesday for preseason practices.

Beckman said Friday at the Mid-American Conference media day at Ford Field in Detroit that he will live with his players at Ottawa House East residence hall for all 12 days of training camp.

"I'm leaving my family and moving in with my football family," Beckman said. "It's something a little different, but I'm excited for it. My family is OK with it. It'll probably be a vacation for them."

Beckman got the idea to live with his players from former Bowling Green State University coach Urban Meyer, who used to do the same thing during his two seasons with the Falcons.

UT senior safety Barry Church said it could be an adjustment for some of the Rockets living with adult supervision, especially after sunset.

"Usually when the coaches go home, it's all chaos at night," Church said. "Everybody's running around doing this and that. This year's going to be a lot different. I assume we're going to be real tired after all the practices, so it's probably going to be a nice, relaxed, quiet camp this year."

Joining Beckman and the players in the dorms will be one of his assistants on a rotating basis for at least one night each.

"It should be very interesting," Church said. "Usually we have quiet hours at like 10, but with him there it'll probably be at like 9 or something like that. But he's a real fun coach to be around, and I'm looking forward to it."

As a defensive coordinator under Meyer at BGSU, Beckman learned the we-are-family concept of running a football program and has carried that over to his first stint as a head coach.

Since taking the helm at UT, Beckman has stressed the importance of team-building and accountability.

His plan to break his players and coaches into eight teams and make them compete in every facet of the offseason, including workouts and academics, is one example of that. Making the decision to require himself and his staff to live with his players during training camp is another.

"If they have to do something, then I should have to do it also and be right there with them," Beckman said.

Senior quarterback Aaron Opelt said when Beckman gave him the news of his living arrangements for preseason workouts, he didn't believe him at first.

"I thought maybe he meant he'd stop by and hang out for the day," Opelt said.

"When he said he's staying the night, I thought it was awesome. That's the way he's been since he got here. He's with us all the time. He's definitely earned everyone's respect by doing that."

Even if it means once again making his everyday home in a dorm.

And when was the last time he did that?

"A long, long time ago," Beckman said with a smile.

Contact Zach Silka at:

zsilka@theblade.com.

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