After nearly a month of caution, Terrence Brooks had seen enough of his blue non-contact jersey by the end of last week.
As warm-ups ended last Thursday, Brooks found the jersey once again waiting next to where he'd been stretching, but he refused to put it on. Instead, he kicked it back to the sideline before a trainer encouraged him to reconsider.
"I hate that blue," Brooks said. "I'm always in a blue jersey. I guess it's just a precaution thing."
So it's hard to blame Brooks for being a bit excited for the start of the regular season, when he could finally dish out those hard hits he was waiting for.
Turns out, however, the enthusiasm might have been a bit extreme.
Brooks was forced to the locker room midway through the second quarter against Murray State because of extensive cramping in his leg, and trainers think the senior's energy leading up to the game might have been the cause.
"They told me it was just a lot of anxiety and being really pumped up and stuff," said Brooks, who finished the game with four tackles after returning for the start of the third quarter. "That's exactly what I was. I was really excited, just the adrenaline going."
Rather than worrying about his blue jersey this week, Brooks said his top concern will be avoiding a repeat incident.
Brooks said he's had issues with cramping since high school, but he's worked with trainers to find a solution -- from better pregame hydration to trimming some of that nervous energy -- in hopes of staying on the field this Saturday against Savannah State.
"It's definitely a concern," Brooks said. "I want to take care of it as quick as possible because when we do get in big games, I don't want to be coming out of the game because of cramps."
While the cramps provided a minor diversion from the action, Brooks said he still was encouraged by his debut performance at safety, where he and Lamarcus Joyner turned in a solid opening-week performance. Murray State didn't complete a pass for more than 16 yards in the game.
"I felt real good," Brooks said. "I felt comfortable, just at home. Me and Joyner did real good, not letting anything deep, playing our assignments well. It felt good."
With one game of experience under his belt at safety and the long wait for his first contact of the fall now over, Brooks is hopeful he'll be able to take a more reserved approach this week, keeping the cramps from recurring.
"We'll be fine. I've just got to calm down more," he said. "It's tough, though. But it's something you've got to do, something to learn from."