Bears warm up to first practice under new staff

Approximately 150 Bear fans watched intently from whatever vantage point they could get as Coach Guy Morriss and staff put their new charges through their first spring practice. Modus Operandi for the practice was quickness and purpose as players were discouraged from any standing around. Sometimes play had to be stopped to insert a back or maybe a receiver, but all in all, Coach Morriss was pleased, calling it a "Good Day."

Physical presence at the first practice was Insider Chuck Allen, who had some personal thoughts based on his own observations of Wednesday's practice.

First Thought - Weight The team has lost quite a bit of weight. They are indeed trimmer than when last season ended. Examples would include Laqualan MacDonald who has lost more than 20 pounds; Anthony Kreig was 222 last fall, but now he's a lean-looking 216. Legs appear to be a bit thinner on most of the guys, but when they aren't wearing thigh pads it's really hard to back that up.

Second Thought - MIA's I missed the seven players not there for academic reasons (see official website write-up) and I also couldn't locate Akeem Rettig on the fields today. How can I miss a 6'6" 300+ pound guy? Heck, I also lost my wallet for a while today, so anything is possible.

Third Thought - Rehab John Garrett is a long way from being 'ready'. His damaged knee will keep him out of spring training totally, I predict. He merely watched from the sideline today.

Fourth Thought - Offense The 'flare' passes look good to these eyes. The QB stands up and fires a pass to a RB in the side 'flat' as the near-side guard and tackle pull out and run wide to that side looking for LB and DB victims. RG MacDonald looked pretty good at it and so did RT Glen Oskin. LG Randy Cornejo and LT Quintin Outland hustled a lot on this play to their side, but I liked it run to the right better. Vince Copeland was getting lots of passes his way and Jonathan Golden as well as Paul Mosley were zipping through holes with good speed and using handpats to maintain balance as their legs churned. Of course, without pads it means only that they are hustling, and does not provide any indication of how good they are, or might be.

Fifth Thought - Defense The defense will look like a swarm of bees. They'd better, because the lack of 'tush-hog' size is almost shocking to me, yet I recall some awesome defenses like that were employed by Bear Bryant at Alabama and Frank Broyles at Arkansas in days of yore. Better work for us in days of now.

Sixth Thought - Hustle These guys are in quick-quick mode. Without pads and on the first day that's to be expected. Hope it remains that way. The coaches are demanding outstanding hustle and they require players not in drills to stand shoulder-to-shoulder waiting to be brought back in as a group. Everybody SPRINTS at ALL times to ALL things!

Seventh Thought - QB's The QBs got no special protection from contact today, despite the fact everyone was wearing a light grade of foam shoulder pad only (under the jersey). Rush linemen would hit their arm and shoulders if they could. It was unusual, I thought. Seems to me that Coach Morriss and Coach Pease want to know who is going to be 'bothered' by contact.

Eighth Thought Coach Goodner is awesome out there. Period!

Ninth Thought - Regimentation = The players seem scared not to perform to their maximum at every opportunity. Pushups were being done on a constant basis whenever there was a longer-than-normal time for groups to get into active drills. This must be an order from the coaches so that no one is just standing and waiting.

Tenth Thought - Team Unity There is not enough over-all size and speed isn't all that great, either. This will be a 'team' though. These coaches will require 'total togetherness' of performance. I can tell that much already. That's a good thing to build on...IMO....but it's gonna take some time.

Final Thought - Visitors I saw many high school and some small college coaches watching intently all afternoon. They were obviously impressed with the speed and intensity of drills. They seemed to be thinking good thoughts concerning what they were observing....but I didn't ask any questions. I could have it all wrong. Time will tell.

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