At the University of Penn State yesterday, trees were planted in place of the Joe Paterno statue. At ContinuityX Training Center in Earth City, day two of training camp witnessed the Rams continuing to plant seeds to get better in every phase of the game.

“Day two went good,” head coach Jeff Fisher said. “We got a lot more in, we had a couple very competitive periods without pads; they’re practicing well without pads. We saw some young guys make some plays, some DBs (defensive backs) makes some plays. It was a good day.”

This team clearly looks fresh and excited, with a contagious buzz of enthusiasm that started back in OTAs and minicamp and has since carried over on both sides of the ball and special teams. It’s a young squad that continues to work hard to impress the coaching staff by flying around with great hustle.

Working to impress is natural. Working to make the 53-man roster is the goal. Competition breeds success, and Fisher and Snead have built this roster with that single goal in mind.

“This team is going to be consistent with that,” Fisher confirmed. “They like practicing and they like the challenges. There are no surprises ahead of them from the standpoint of … they know what the schedule is, the installation is, they know when the day off is. They know better than to pace themselves, because as we said we don’t have a lot of reps to go around.”

Thursday’s practice will set the tone for the 2012 season. The first day of pads is the day that separates the men from the grown men, and the competition level rises to a fever pitch. The big boys (offensive and defensive line) will finally get some one-on-one work, and there are sure to be some live periods of seven-on-seven and four-on-three drills.

“Clearly the defense has the advantage right now,” Fisher commented. “Anytime you go to team period without pads, it’s hard for the offense to anchor. Once the pads go on, everything starts to even out a little bit.”

Expectations are high for this young team, as they should be. It features a winning head coach and a good staff, franchise quarterback, Pro Bowl running back, a talented defensive front seven and a secondary that improved during the offseason. A championship foundation is being laid and, with a bit of patience, success in the way of wins should lurk just around the corner.