THE FIRST WEEK OF SPRING PRACTICE

The Baylor Bears used the most of March and the first week of April to prepare the football team for the upcoming season. The coaching staff had several concerns going into the spring. They were worried about the tight ends, which will play a big part in new offensive coordinator, Dave Baldwin's, offense. A new offensive line was a concern. The defensive line and linebacker depth created more concern. Then, of course, there were the quarterbacks - always a concern.

March 11, the First Day
The energy level was high and the "physicality" of contact was surprisingly great (even though it was a "no-contact" practice). The verbosity of the coaches was more intense than last year, especially Tommy Frazier, who is much more vocal and animated than in years past. He was constantly coaching his butt off today! This, of course, had an effect as the RB's worked very hard, too. Jontue Fears-Hayes is big and has only one speed - full throttle. Jonathan Evans was, also. Anthony Krieg appeared to be a bit smaller than last year...however, standing around Fears-Hayes and Jonathan Evans will create that illusion, but he ran well. Didn't notice Golden, but suppose he was there. Eron Haynes caught my eye with his quickness and very hard effort! Chedrick Ricks had his moments and looked pretty good, also.

New Coach Darrell Patterson was coaching LBs in a hard way, too. He was throwing lots of technical stuff at them and wasn't standing for any "grab-ass", if you know what I mean - it was all business with Darrell. The efforts by this coach and his wards was pleasing, to say the least. Did not see Garrett unless he has changed numbers, and someone else was wearing a #5, but this is spring, so who knows.

The two new JC transfer DB's looked okay, but appeared short. Hopefully they'll bring some quickness and more ability to the secondary - they better be good. Ahmad Rhodes is #25 and Larry Bynum is #16.

Who was the most impressive player of the day? That had to be J Fields (#88).   He looks as though he would be scary to any defender, and he caught everything well. Fields is a little taller than Newhouse, and has a touch more speed off the line - I think they call that "burst."

Dave Baldwin worked the QBs with much more energy than we've been accustomed to seeing. There was more emphasis on footwork. This coach is also "all business." Cicero, Karas and Vinson seemed to be getting most of the reps, but Zachry was also out there. As you know, right now, we seem to have an "army" of quarterbacks out there.

March 13
The key word for the second day of practice was INTENSITY!!!! Actually, they picked up from where they left off in intensity Monday, and it grew. Keep in mind, too, that they're still in their underwear (shorts and helmets! They put the pads go on tomorrow, but one would have thought some thought they had them on today as several offensive and defensive linemen got into a pretty darn good skirmish today. Coach Steele had several doing drop-pushups & run-in-place stuff for a few minutes after the heated displays of emotion. Jumping off-sides on defense or movement by an offensive linemen is a lack of concentration and a lack of self discipline and thus draws the same kind of penalties. Losing temperament and self control is akin to the same thing and will evidently draw the same penalties, especially since these will cost you 15 rather than 5.

Reggie Newhouse and J Fields continue to shine.

Anthony Kreig is down to 213 and, as he himself put it, "feelin' faster - I'm really ready for tomorrow."

Jonathan Evans and Jontue Fears-Hates continue to work hard. Jonathan Golden has gotten much bigger across the shoulders!  Eron Haynes is truly quick - like Darryl Royal used to say, "as quick as a hic-up." Chedrick Ricks is running some deep routes out of the backfield and looking good doing it.

Coach Baldwin continues to do a great job of explaining with intensity and determination before the route as to what 'options' are available. On one he yelled, "he goes inside or outside - you take off on the bus and get uptown!" Now, that's cool. This guy's gonna help a lot! It's difficult to explain it, but he's got such a great mastery of his X's and O's, but maybe more important, he has the personality to get his message in such a way that it becomes a challenge and not so scolding! 

Dale Steele is also intently coaching hard! Tommie Frazier was working just as he did on Monday! In a nutshell, he seems to have much more confidence about what he is doing and is much more challenging about what he wants from his running backs.

John Garrett was out there all day today ... he was at SLB with Wade at MLB and Sepulveda in the WLB spot.

OBSERVATION FROM AN EX-COACH: I have to say this - today's practice "in shorts" was easily the roughest and most hitting such workout I've ever seen (high school, college or Dallas Cowboys)! There were some big hits with arm cushions or also by raw shoulders by defenders...especially on receivers going across the middle. Receivers rolled and crashed to ground all day because of the heavy contact. Lots of pass interference could have been called. Four refs in stripes were out there, too. DEs were rushing hard against offensive linemen (obviously led to the fighting!). It was fun to watch...and hear!

March 14
Let me just say, we have some big backs - I'm talking running backs, and Golden, Krieg, Evans, and Fears-Hays are just that - big backs. When the team was doing some scrimmaging (no-tackling) today, I was talking with an old friend and classmate, Ronnie Lee. He was remarking about how big our backs were - at the time Jonathan Evans was bursting through the line and then would catch a swing pass - very versatile and moves well for a big man. Golden just looks like he could contribute much this fall - and of course, he's going to have to hold on to the ball. With all the backs we have, the pressure is going to be there to perform which means running the ball effectively and holding onto it. Did not see Eron Haynes today. Faucher and Draa were out there, though.

Cicero threw well today, as did Karas. Keep in mind this was the first time the team had put on pads for three months and the body just has to become accustomed to wearing them - it is not an automatic. However, there were some excellent passes being tossed around. Vinson and Zachry also got into the act.

J Fields, Marques Roberts, and of course Reggie Newhouse appear to be top receivers, although there are others out there who made some fine catches and did some running when they got the ball. Jeffrey is working at WR and is a big target who can run. Fields, however, is going to be special. Listening to the crowd words of description were "thorough- bred, like a race-horse, sleek, great body positioning, great moves after catching the ball, and fearless across the middle."  There were others, but you get the drift.

Don't worry about the LB's at this point. Garrett, Wade, and Sepulveda are starting right now, but Colin Allred, Justin Crooks, Jack Wallace, and others are right behind them. There is good competition here and several ways things could settle out before all is said and done.

I've always considered Danielle McLean as a safety - seems like he has grown some, also. There was no tackling in today's workout - it was limited contact, so fit the no-contact classification. Anyway, as one WR was coming across the middle in front of McLean - who arrived when the ball did - he sent him sprawling. He popped him with authority. Come September, it could be Cash and McLean at the safety positions, but that is my premature, over anxious, prediction for the day.

You've seen the word INTENSITY used to discuss the first two practices. Let me define it some. When the ball is snapped, on every play there is great INTENSITY between the OL and the DL - they mix it up, and neither side likes to be bested, and they fight extremely hard to keep that from happening. When our RB's are handed the football, they get INTENSE quickly. When the tacklers meet the ball carriers, and we are talking "no-tackling" here, t


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