Sometimes fans start to delve into the details of the team and individual players a little bit too quickly. On Monday, I just took some time to really soak in my initial impressions and get an overview of the basics of the team. First impressions are often the best impressions, despite the simplicity.
Believe it or not, to my eyes the pace of the practices has picked up to an even higher level than I’ve seen in the past. Despite new players, fall camp really gets flying because the coaches have so much time in meetings with the players. That allows them to go over what drills and stations are going to take place during practice. There is no reason to be on the field learning a drill when you could be using the allotted NCAA practice time to get the important things done. However, this year I see even less transition time, which could indicate more preparation on the players’ part or better leadership by the coaches and veterans. Whatever the reason, increased pace is a positive – more intense practices, and better use of time on the learning that matters.
The very first thing that stood out to me at Monday’s practice was the amount and quality of athletes on this team. In years past it was easy to quickly identify the team’s superior athletes by size and speed. This year, though, there is a large quantity of guys who can really run and players who have tremendous size coupled with the ability to carry that weight. You can never have too many athletes, that much is sure.
If you take a second to think about what the true freshmen are going through in these camps, it really is amazing. Not only are they being introduced to players who are bigger and faster than they’ve ever played against, they are also encountering a brand new offensive or defensive system that they must learn while trying to survive. You have to have tremendous respect for any true freshmen who can deal with these factors and earn playing time.
There seems to be a good amount of enthusiasm on the field. Anytime there are scuffles, trash-talking or big hits in practice, that is a good thing. This team needs more intensity and if you have it against your teammates, it’s a nice sign for what we’ll see during the season against the opposition.
Now to get into more specifics about what I