The intensity has picked up a bit in the past few days of practice for the Fort Hays State University football team.

And rightfully so.

The Tigers, now in shoulder pads, after two days of helmets only, are starting to pop the pads a bit as the Tiger coaching staff is drawing closer to decisions on roster spots ahead of Saturday’s scrimmage.

“First day of pads yesterday and now today we know what we’re doing,” junior linebacker Jose Delgado said after Thursday’s practice. “We’re starting to pop a little — getting a little chippy, and that’s expected.”

Tiger head coach Chris Brown also started to show a little more intensity on his face during Thursday’s run-through — mainly trying to keep his guys healthy as practices start to intensify.

“Guys are getting a little bit tired at this time, fourth day of practice and (Friday) we will be in full pads,” Brown said. “The main thing right now is just staying off the ground.”

The Tigers have shown considerable depth at many positions in the first few days, but the ultimate goal is to have those first- and second-team spots nailed down by the end of the week with Saturday’s live action.

The fight for spots fuels practice.

“When you have guys on the ground, people get rolled up, and that’s when we have injuries,” Brown said. “It’s just working together.

“We just need to not throw guys, and we did that a couple times today, and (Coach) doesn’t really like it that much.”

More guys fighting for spots, though, is a good sign.

“It’s been real good,” Delgado said of the first week. “We’re here all summer and we had a lot of people — more than we’ve had any other year.

“We’re pretty prepared,” the Derby product added.

The coaching staff, Brown said, will see just how prepared the Tigers are when they take the field for the first scrimmage, slated for approximately 9 a.m. at Lewis Field Stadium, or the indoor training facility in the case of inclement weather.

“Get through this first scrimmage and see what guys are going to fit in where,” Brown said. “And see what guys are going to do.”