Here we go By Carter Toole www.HoustonTexans.com Different players at different positions dotted the landscape as you scanned the Texans' practice fields Saturday morning. But one constant remains in this, the club's fourth training camp. It's hot. Very...very...hot. "I know one thing," defensive end Robaire Smith said. "If you get in shape here in Houston, you can go anywhere and play without a problem." That's the idea. Houston kicked off training camp with the first of eight two-a-days and 27 total practices with a two-hour session. And while the heat was certainly a story, the Texans' reaction to it was not. This team is healthy, hungry and fit. And it showed. "I thought it was a good start," head coach Dom Capers. "I think the guys have been anxious to get out on the field. You always want to see what kind of carry-over you have from your off-season work. And I see that there has been some good carry-over. "We had quite a bit of offense and defense in for the first day. But when you have guys that have been in the system, you can do more of that. And we're a more healthy team starting out than we've been." Indeed, everybody was out there, save for one player (more on that later). Wide receiver Jabar Gaffney, who missed most of the team's coaching sessions with a shoulder injury, participated in drills, albeit with the precautionary red jersey. But most eyes were focused on Houston's revamped defense, which features new players at four different positions. Kailee Wong was calling the plays in the huddle as the new buc linebacker. Morlon Greenwood showed off the speed that the Texans feel will make him an upgrade at weakside linebacker. Antwan Peek lined up at right outside linebacker opposite Jason Babin. And then there's the Texans' "new" No. 31, Phillip Buchanon, who looked sharp at right cornerback and shagged some punts during special teams. "I think I can make a big impact," Buchanon said. "I truly know I can but we have to win as a team." Up front, the Texans look a little leaner along the defensive line. Smith reported yesterday 14 pounds lighter (309) than last season. Fellow end Gary Walker and nose tackle Seth Payne also met their target weight. "All of our linemen have done a good job with what we've asked them to do," Capers said. "We gave them a weight very early to give them a chance to do it right. You try to lose a bunch of weight in the last week or two and then try to come out here and go through the type of practices we have and these heat conditions, it isn't going to work. You're going to pull a muscle or have another problem." Smith can see a difference, both in himself and his linemates. "This is the best shape shape our defensive line has been since I've been here," he said. Houston's one coaching change is also on defense, as Mike London replaces Todd Grantham as defensive line coach. But Capers envisions a smooth transition there. "Mike had worked in a system at the University of Virginia where they were in a 3-4 defense very similar to our. He's a very good teacher and an outstanding technique guy. He's got a good background in teaching this kind of defense." One player that London wasn't able to tutor Saturday was first-round draft pick Travis Johnson, who has become the Texans' first holdout in their brief history. "It's hard for me to really comment," Capers said. "I know we're still working on it, but I don't know where we are. When he comes in here, we'll put him on a crash course." Houston's offense returns intact, although the Texans experimented with some shuffling along their offensive line during coaching sessions. Seth Wand remained at left tackle during the first training camp practice with Chester Pitts to his immediate right. Running back Domanick Davis was his same old elusive self, perhaps due to his new, aerodynamic mohawk. Andre Johnson was gliding around the field and Corey Bradford made some nice grabs, including a spectacular one-handed snare of a ball behind his head during drills. All in all, the mood was bright, as it is with most teams on the first day of camp. Every team is undefeated in July, right? But you also get the sense the Texans feel their on th verge of something. "I'm actually pretty excited," Payne said. "There have been some changes so there's some new blood in here. Guys are excited. We feel we're ready to take that next step forward." That next step? Extending the season past New Year's Day. The playoffs may seem a long way off but the work towards that goal begins in earnest today. Johnson, for one, is ready. "That's all I keep thinking about. I don't like losing and having to go home and watch the other games on TV. I want to be one of those teams playing at the end of the year." For Texans fans, that would be the best change of all.