Most springs, the second day of practice in pads for the Bryant Hornets — and most teams — is a little slow. Players are often a little sore from the first day of contact since the end of the previous season and the energy level doesn’t always match that first day.
That’s what Bryant head coach Paul Calley expected but he was pleasantly surprised with how his team got after it on the second day of pads on Wednesday.
“They responded very well,” he stated. “We had another spirited practice. We were still physical even though there was a lot of soreness. We weren’t afraid to stick our nose in there.
“I challenged them a little bit before (the workout) to step it up and they did,” the coach added. “I was pleased.”
Calley had said he hoped, too, that he’d see some seniors step up and get their teammates going on Wednesday and, again, he was pleased.
“We have 40 seniors and half those 40 are trying to be leaders,” he related. “I think they’re the ones that are pumping everybody up. That’s the way you’d prefer it.”
Regarding Thursday’s film session, Calley said, “We’re going to correct some mistakes. And it’s little stuff, stopping your feet, planting on the wrong foot and taking a false step. Things like that that we’ve got to work on. At some level, it’s technique. Defensively, it’s tackling, keeping your head up, seeing the ball carrier. Offensively, it’s playing with your pad level lower.
“It’s going to come with reps,” he noted. “Hopefully, they’ll see themselves (in the video of Wednesday’s practice) and they’ll realize the mistakes that they’re making.”
The Hornets return experienced players in the skill positions on offense but the offensive line is being retooled. Asked about their progress, Calley related, “It’s coming along very well. I think they’ve challenged themselves. You know, having to replace the group from last year, they know what they were capable of and they don’t want to be the weak link. So they’re really working hard, trying to get better.
“I think offensively, we’ve looked good considering it was the second day of spring practice,” he added. “But our defense hasn’t started stunting either. Once they start to mix those (stunts) in, it could change things a little bit.
On defense, it’s the secondary that being retooled.
“They made some strides Wednesday,” Calley related. “(Secondary coach John Wells) thought Collin Welch played a lot better. He thought Jalen Jones played a lot better. And our young safeties are coming on.”
The team is set to practice in pads again on Friday with some scrimmaging. They’ll take Memorial Day off on Monday then don the pads again on Tuesday and Thursday of next week.