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'Kind of a Welcome Home Again'

Posted Aug 2, 2013

The Broncos' annual Summer Scrimmage kicks off Saturday evening, and the players and coaches are looking forward to going to work in Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Tomorrow, the Broncos will run through the tunnel at Sports Authority Field at Mile High for the first time this season.

"It's going to be great," running back Ronnie Hillman said. "It's kind of a welcome home again."

While Saturday evening's Summer Scrimmage isn't exactly a regular-season game, the players and coaches will certainly treat it like one.

“It is an opportunity for our guys to get in our stadium, see the type of fans we have, what type of expectations they have and how raucous they are, which is a great thing," Head Coach John Fox said. "We will get to see how they operate in front of a big crowd and see if they operate very well under pressure."

Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase said it will be "a game-like atmosphere" Saturday as he calls in the plays from the sideline with Quarterbacks Coach Greg Knapp up in the coaches' booth.

The plan, Gase said, is to "thin down" the playbook a little for the scrimmage and simply let the players go out and execute.

That's a welcome environment a little more than a week into training camp.

"There is a big crowd there, you’re on the game field, it’s a game situation -- you’re not just kind of going situation to situation," defensive end Derek Wolfe said Thursday. "So it’s a lot more fun.”

Fun was a buzzword around Dove Valley Friday, as the prospect of 40,000-plus fans filing into Sports Authority Field at Mile High to watch the scrimmage got some players fired up.

"I guarantee you if you talked to every player on the team, the fans make them work harder," safety Rahim Moore said. "When we go out there and make a play, you see everybody celebrating and having fun, so it’s kind of like a little simulation to a real game.”

Fox said the scrimmage will last 36 plays, which means many players will get just 12 plays of team activity to make an impression. The plan will be to put the first-team offense against the second-team defense, then the second-team offense against the first-team defense before finishing up the session with the third teams squaring off.

"That will be their first opportunity to prove how they do under pressure," Fox said. "We turn around pretty quick and go to San Francisco for the first preseason game and they also have that opportunity."

The scrimmage is presented by King Soopers, Rocky Mountain Health Plans, Melanoma Exposed and U.S. Bank. Gates to the stadium open at 5 p.m., but the Kids Zone on the south end of the stadium opens at 2:30 p.m.

The practice is scheduled to begin at approximately 7 p.m. with the scrimmage portion kicking off about an hour later.

"We’re out there hitting, getting used to hitting again," running back Knowshon Moreno said of the scrimmage. "Just pretty much getting ready for next week and hitting other people and hitting other teams.”