Aug. 25, 2009
Hello again Leopard fans! Diving right into things, yesterday was a double session for the team with an 8:30 start in the morning and 7:30 start later that evening. The first practice, held in helmets and shells (toned down shoulder pads), proved to be an offensively controlled practice.
The defensive effort was less than good, giving the offense the opportunity to show what it had been working on. The passing arsenal seemed to be firing on all cylinders with quarterback Rob Curley connecting with Nathan Padia, Mark Layton, Mitch Bennett and Kyle Hayes as well as others.
The running game was also looking to finally open up with Maurice White heading a corps of running backs including Tyrell Coon, DeAndre' Morrow and Jerome Rudolph making some unbelievable cuts for serious yards.
Now, as painful as this is to be writing, being a very strong defensively minded guy (if it hasn't been made obvious by now), I have to give credit to the offense. Although some injuries have been hindering them a bit, the offense has been showing some serious of flashes of productive hard-nosed ball. (Hopefully nobody on the offense reads this or I will be hassled like you wouldn't believe!)
After lunch, meetings and dinner, it was time for practice under the lights once again. Film proved to be a fairly uncomfortable and upsetting time, watching and listening to the coaches basically abuse players for making the same mistakes over and over again (in a productive and educational manner as you can imagine).
What I felt was interesting was my curiosity to how the defense was going to react. What happens in some cases when a player is ripped for simple, reoccurring mistakes, he hangs his head, becoming very nervous and rattled about his performance. This tends to be the wrong way to react to criticism. What the defense did later that night showcased how competitive athletes should react when they want to make themselves better.
Coach Loose starts every practice with his pursuit drill that tends to really get the defense physically warmed up and ready for a hard practice. Four long periods of constant rotating pursuits, the defense was brought over to face the offense in full pads again. This time the defense reacted the way it was supposed to -- swarming to the ball, causing penetration and offensive blocking problems.
The effort was back to where it was supposed to be. The offense however continued to battle, with left guard Bryan Wycinowski leading the offensive line in absence of starting right tackle and captain Ryan Hart-Predmore (tweaked hamstring). Several `live' periods followed, resulting in an overall great effort from both sides of the ball.
The team underwent a single session practice today (Monday) on a slightly cooler day than usual. Again both sides of the ball gave great effort and enthusiasm, but the best is still to come. Tuesday night, the second session of practice (of the double-session day) will be a team scrimmage including referees and many different live scenarios for the team. This scrimmage basically provides the perfect opportunity for players to show their worth and solidify or win spots on the depth charts.
It serves as a preview or grading process to see how far players have come individually through camp as well as seeing how the team is all together. It will certainly prove to be a good, strong, and enthusiastic practice for the team as we push to make ourselves better every day. That's all for now. Time for meetings!