By Rob Patrick
A lot of football players will say they love to hit but the proof can be heard when, for instance, in[more] a full-contact scrimmage like the Bryant Hornets engaged in last Thursday the pads are popping.
“You can’t replace someone who’s physical,” stated Hornets coach Paul Calley. “That’s a big thing especially defensively. A lot of that’s natural. You can try to force people to be physical which we try to do, and we’ve gotten a little better but we’re still not where we need to be.
“Execution is first and foremost but we are looking for physical players,” he emphasized. “Technique, especially offensively, is big. Just feet and hands is the main thing, and body position. We’re all playing too high and that’s a thing you have to remedy. A lot of times, if you remedy that, then the physical part of it gets better. If your leverage is better then you become more physical and you know how to handle yourself better.”
Added defensive coordinator Steve Griffith, “We told the kids, we’re looking for guys that understand how to align, that understand their assignment then, really, we’re looking for guys that are showing hustle. As we look on film — we film everything in practice — we’re looking at guys that are really busting their tail to get the job done.
“If their technique is a little off, we feel like we can coach that,” he noted. “But that inner desire to play and to play at a fast pace, to play hard, that’s something that’s got to come out of the young man. That’s one thing that we’ve really stressed with them that we’re looking for. If we can get that, we feel like, with time — we’ve got the summer, we’ve got four or five weeks in August — that we can get that technique so that we can line up and be competitive against Conway on week one.”
The Hornets travel to play the Wampus Cats in the season opener on Friday, Sept. 6. Currently the team is in the middle of their three weeks of spring practice, which includes 10 days of contact work. A video session was planned for today with a practice in pads set for Friday.
“The first couple of days looked kind of ragged,” said Griffith in review. “I thought Thursday (May 9), which was our third practice last week then Monday of this week, we looked somewhat better. In the scrimmage setting, I thought our feet — we were moving much better. We looked a little faster than we did the first two days.
“Monday, we slowed back down and spent most of our time versus scout. We’re learning.
“We’ve made some progress,” he added. We were excited to get three guys that are really three of most experience players back in practice, coming out of baseball and soccer.”
That included safety Davis Nossaman, linebacker Bryce Denker and cornerback Drew Tipton.
“They gave us a little lift,” Griffith said. We’re looking at a lot of new faces, trying to find guys and plug those guys in that can give us a shot in the fall to be competitive.”
Calley said that, initially, the offense was ahead of the defense but, he added, “As expected, the defense is catching up with us. Offensively, we’re still making a few mistakes but, overall, we’ve got a good grasp of what we’re trying to do. We execute well at times. We’re not in football shape so we get tired easy and make some mistakes because of fatigue. Other than that, I think it’s gone well.”