Heat, holiday weekend affect Hornets return to spring practice on Tuesday

By Rob Patrick

Tuesday was hotter than it’s been, particularly on the turf at Bryant Stadium and, coupled with the[more] fact that a holiday weekend just passed, the Bryant Hornets football team’s return to spring practice just wasn’t as crisp.

“It wasn’t even close,” declared Hornets head coach Paul Calley. “It’s hotter today and we’re coming off a three-day weekend where most of them didn’t get much sleep, stayed up on Facebook all night or on the phone or in the lake.

“We didn’t expect much,” he added. “That’s why we didn’t plan a lot of scrimmage time today. We went back to group work, a primary defensive day. We slopped through over on my (offensive) end and we slopped through over on this (defensive) end, inside drill and blitz pickup, and slopped through team. Memorial Day hangover, I guess.”

Added defensive coordinator Steve Griffith, “The heat was a little bit of a factor. Hopefully, we’ll get plenty of fluids in us tonight and come back and get used to this heat and maybe be ready to jump around in it a little better than we did today.”

Things will change on Wednesday, vowed the coach. “Tomorrow’s going to be more getting after it.”

At the end of the workout, using a team camp concept, Calley and his staff tried to get everyone plenty of reps.

“It allows us to line up to multiple formations on different hashes,” he said of the defense, which lined up against the first offense operating on one side of the field then shifted to the other side to line up against the second offense. That way both offenses got to run plenty of plays and the defense had to line up and adjust in short order.

“We got a lot of reps,” acknowledged Griffith. “We just wanted them to come in after the holiday with not a lot of heavy contact; a lot of recognition and a lot of repetitions.

“We had pretty good carryover,” he added. “There weren’t a lot of mental mistakes. Hopefully, we’ll get back into school mode, back in football mode, and come back out tomorrow and scrimmage with a lot more intensity and, hopefully, better execution. Then the hitting will be full scale through everything.

“We’ll try to get to see some people the next two or three days as we move more toward scrimmage mode and not so much group mode,” Griffith said, “give the guys a chance to get it on film and prove what they can do.”

Of the offense’s work during the team camp session, Calley said, “We left the (first-team) offense on the same side of the field, to practice from one side. That’s what Auburn does. One day they practice from one hash, the next day they practice from the other hash. We’re going to try it, and work on our spacing. Hopefully, it helps.

“We need reps,” he said. “Our snaps aren’t crisp, our timing’s not right on our handoffs. We’re trying to do some stuff out of pistol, out of the regular ‘gun. We’re trying to use some south motion ala Auburn. And it’s just not meshing real good right now because the focus is not there. It is to some extent but not nearly where it’s got to be.”

Spring practice continues through the end of the week. After an escalation of the scrimmage work on Wednesday, Calley has planned for now to back off a bit on Thursday before concluding the week with an extended scrimmage on Friday.

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