Note: For a preview of spring practice, go here.
By Rob Patrick
In assessing the second day of spring football practice, Bryant Hornets head coach Paul Calley mentioned,[more] “We came out a little sluggish. After a little prodding from the coaches, they got it going and we had a productive day. I was pleased with what I saw.”
Enough that Calley and his staff are planning the first scrimmaging of the spring on Wednesday.
“Just to get a taste of it,” he said. “We may back off a little Thursday and go a little longer on Friday.”
“It was a pretty good pace out there today,” commented Hornets defensive coordinator Steve Griffith. “It was hot and humid but the guys were moving around pretty good. There wasn’t a lot of dragging. The third day is usually a day where you get a little dragging but, hopefully, the promise of having a little bit of scrimmage time at the end will keep our spirits up and we’ll have a good day tomorrow.”
“I felt like we got better offensively,” Calley said. “We’re snapping the ball and the quarterbacks are catching the ball. Yesterday, we didn’t do much of that. But, if the snaps are where we can catch them, we’re throwing and catching passes against air. Now, tomorrow, we’re going to see if we can do it against people.
“We hadn’t had any quarterbacks for months and we hadn’t had any timing throwing screens or anything like that,” he continued. “The linemen have to understand, if we’re doing a five-step drop pass combination, we’ve got to protect for three-and-a-half seconds. We haven’t had any concept of that until the last two days. So, in order to get us ready to go 11 on 11, I’m trying to get them to understand that we’ve got to block until the whistle blows. Sometimes that’s not as short a period as they think it is. And, today, by the end of practice, we did a little bit better.
“Defensively,” Calley said, “we’re doing things on the line, at the line of scrimmage that we hadn’t seen this spring. I’m proud of that.”
Griffith said of the plan for the week of work, “We’re kind of separating out to an offensive practice and a defensive practice. Yesterday, we had everybody that works defense with us. Today, anybody that works with the offense was with the offensive guys. Some of our starters, our secondary guys were over working with the offense today.
“So, we got a great chance to get some of the younger guys some work and found out that some of them had really been paying attention,” he added. “Some of them hadn’t. And, hopefully, they realize now they’re going to be called on. They’re going to have to jump out there and provide the pass skel for the varsity and be in the inside drill for the varsity. Hopefully, our intensity and our execution by those guys will pick up a little bit when they’re back out there. Tomorrow, we look forward to having all the varsity defensive guys back.”
Defensive line coach Brad Stroud said of the scrimmage, “That’ll tell us a lot. All 22 guys out there going someplace, you’ve got to make a read and go in traffic.
“Right now, I’ve got all new people,” he noted. “I’ve got Tim Kelly working at a nine technique. He got in enough ballgames last year to log some time. He’ll be okay. He was kind of hobbled with a sore toe today. Austin Dunnahoo played three technique and Michael Smith played one.
“The other surprise has been O’Dell Lee, who is playing the five technique, weakside end,” Stroud continued. “He’s seeing things. They ran a couple of bootlegs at him and he saw it.
“Dylan Cross has come back after not playing last year and I think he’ll be a leader-type and help us some at end. Kelton Shaw is another nine technique. He’s just a little small. That’s the bunch that looks like they’re going to be logging the most time.
“They’ve just got to get better on their technique,” Stroud continued. “They’re specimens but they’ve got to get their eyes up and see what’s happening. The rest of the other guys, they’re going to have to prove to me that they can stand in there and play.”
With the two-way players on offense tomorrow, Calley said, “I’m going to try to get a feel for the upper classmen. We don’t have any timing, really. Yesterday’s the first time we’ve had everybody in the huddle. So I’m probably pushing it a little bit and I expected a little too much yesterday. I didn’t do a good job of coaching on my end. I expected too much, so I went back today and re-taught what I should’ve done yesterday and I think it may have sunk in and we’ll be better on the offensive side because of it.”
Wrapping up his comments on Tuesday’s workout and the enthusiasm that developed as the day went along, Calley said, “They like the game, most of them like the game. They don’t mind practicing. We’re just going two hours and my young guys — we’re a young football team overall — showed a lot of leadership towards the end. They knew what I wanted. I only had to ‘slam’ them once today when they didn’t understand what I wanted and it carried over through the rest of practice.”