LEWISBURG — Bucknell held its first official practice of preseason camp Friday night at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium.

The rainy conditions did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the first preseason under coach Dave Cecchini.

"I want to see championship-level effort," Cecchini said. "Our philosophy is built around that you have to act like champions before you become champions. Every day, we stress that you have to do what a champion would do. We're trying to set the tone right away and foster a standard of excellence that will hopefully permeate the program for years to come. If we can do that, the championships will come."

The Bison participated in individual drills and faced off in multiple 7-on-7 periods, with highlights being an acrobatic catch by Blais Herman during a red-zone period, and strong performances by linebackers Sam Chitty, Simeon Page and Rick Mottram.

Cecchini was all over the field throughout the two-hour practice, and stood in as a defensive back at one point while the quarterbacks were working with the wide receivers.

Bucknell will face what Cecchini said he thought was the toughest nonconference schedule in the Patriot League.

The Bison open at Temple on Aug. 31, and then face four teams that cracked the Football Championship Subdivision's top 10 last year.

Bucknell's home opener is set for Sept. 14 against Villanova. Season tickets and tickets to Bucknell's season opener at Temple are currently on sale.

The Bison return an All-American and three-time All-Patriot League selection in punter Alex Pechin, and a two-time All-Patriot League pick in Page. During the off-season, both were voted to the 2019 Preseason All-Patriot League Team. In addition, Pechin has captured numerous national preseason accolades.

Pechin was also named the 2018-19 Patriot League Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He became just the third football player in league history to be named the top male scholar.

"It means a lot," Pechin said. "A lot of people helped me along the way. ... It's a great honor and I'm humbled by it."