The Jets first came to the Hofstra University campus for training camp back in 1968, where Long Island fans of the team grew up watching them for 40 years. In 2008, the Florham Park facility was built and the Jets moved their operations to New Jersey. When the Jets decided to move training camp to SUNY Cortland in 2009, they left many of their most loyal fans behind in Long Island.
In 2009 and 2010, the Jets made stops back to Shuart Stadium in Hempstead for a practice back at their old stomping grounds. After a three-year hiatus, Gang Green made their return to Hofstra last night. It’s safe to say that some of the Jets best fans were excited for the return.
“It’s always amazing, the electricity here,” head coach Rex Ryan stated. “The fans are awesome.”
Approximately 11,000 fans came out to the stadium to see their team practice and get ready for their third preseason game against the Giants Friday night at MetLife Stadium. There have been reports that the Jets are interested in moving training camp back to Long Island, potentially going to Farmingdale State College. Ryan wasn’t focused too much on that right now.
“The future I’m worried about is this season. I know one thing,” said Ryan. “Hofstra will always be a proud part of, and this area will always be a part of our tradition.”
Jets right guard Willie Colon is a Hofstra Pride alum. He got a chance to see his number there for the first time in a Jets uniform.
“It was fun. It brought back some old memories,” said Colon, who was a big part of Hofstra’s now obsolete football team.
Colon and company got to show their fans what the new-look offense looks like as they get set for the “Snoopy Bowl” Friday night. There’s been plenty of trash talking going on surround the meaningless preseason game. The game may not count, but don’t tell the outspoken head coach that.
“When the Jets and Giants play, there’s extra energy,” Ryan said. “It’s going to be a physical game. That’s what we want.”
Friday night will be important for plenty of players who still are trying to lock in roster spots. The third preseason game is where we see the depth chart come into place. Cornerback is going to be an important position to watch out for Friday night as that continues to be the biggest question mark for the Jets. Dee Milliner may not be ready for week 1 against the Raiders. Rookie Dexter McDougle is out for the season. This will be the chance for the likes of Darrin Walls, Kyle Wilson, and Antonio Allen.
“Don’t be surprised if we see other guys get shots in the first half so we can get a good look at them,” said the sixth-year Jets head coach.
“I just want our guys to get better. On defense especially, I’d like to make sure that the communication is good.”
No quarterback questions today. Michael Vick must be a happy camper after getting frustrated with the media on Wednesday. Geno Smith will be the starter against the Giants and barring injury, he’ll be behind center when the Jets open the season at home Sep. 7 against the Raiders. After Friday night’s game at MetLife, Gang Green will close out the preseason next Thursday in Philadelphia against the Eagles.