Marcus Hamilton and the Hoos seemed to have a new brand of enthusiasm this spring.
In watching the spring practice period of the Virginia football team, something seemed a little bit different. There was more intensity. The players were louder and their praise for one another was more vocal. The helmet taps and pad slaps were more frequent and more earnest. Fans noticed. Players noticed. Casual observers noticed.
So, the big question is will this “new attitude” bring better results? Some of UVa’s players think so, at least in terms of making the team a more cohesive and competitive unit. From there, wins and losses will shake out through game-day execution.
“That’s something we’ve really tried to work on in the offseason, coming together as a team and being enthused,” receiver Fontel Mines said. “It just gets everybody more into practice. It makes for a better practice and it makes for a better team.”
The entire team displayed the renewed enthusiasm in the spring. The players seem to feed off of new coaches Mike London and Bob Diaco as well as returnees John Garrett and Anthony Poindexter. All the coaches, in turn, seem to feed off the players.
There was more to it than the stereotypical football players’ way of celebrating, though. Yes, there was the helmet and pad slapping. Flying chest bumps? Sure. But, the most noticeable thing of all was that everyone on both sides of the ball seemed to be more vocal and more supportive of teammates making plays. Even punter Ryan Weigand received some out-loud praise – from a linebacker, no less.
“We’re trying to have more energy and be more vocal. Before we had energy, but it was kind of dead energy. So the more we yell and the more we have fun and fly around, I think it will translate on to the field,” co-captain Marcus Hamilton said. “So we’re just trying to be vocal, yelling and screaming and just having fun out there. If you’re not having fun, there’s no point in being out there.”
Perhaps, the change in attitude shouldn’t be surprising....
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