"I think offensively we're trying to push grit," Coach Doman said. "I want these guys to feel this unconquerable spirit about them. The only way they can feel this way is to execute this offense, so we're pushing tempo, we're pushing execution and we're pushing effort all in the execution."
The Cougar offense ran a rapid-fire, hurry-up offense that quickly put the defense on its heels. One play after another, the offense ran and executed as fast as they could in succession from the first-team on down to the third.
"Then today we decided to increase the pace at which we execute and move offensively," Doman said. "You can see what happens out here when we do that and do it effectively, being able to execute at that rapid pace."
"Today, we tried out the last part of what we're trying to do," said Cody Hoffman. "We did the hurry-up offense today against our defense and it turned out really good, so we're probably going to do a lot more of it."
"I thought they did really well running that for the first time of spring practice today," said outside linebacker Spencer Hadley. "They got a couple of touchdowns on us, but I feel like it was good for us too. I feel like we did a pretty good job of playing the hurry up tempo."
Wide receivers and running backs quickly got themselves set, and with the hike of the ball ran through their routes. When the play was over, the offense quickly lined up and the process was repeated over and over again.
"What happens to the defense is they just gas out," Doman said. "They tire more quickly and that gives us a greater advantage on top of the fact that we know what's coming and they don't, so it really puts a lot of stress on the defense and makes it more difficult for them to defend."
"Yeah, they were really gassed and we were too," Hoffman said. "The only thing was, we knew what was coming and they didn't, so it must have made it that much more difficult for them to get set and ready."
Hadley saw firsthand how it affects a defense.
"Obviously, you get tired because you have to chase the ball down and then quickly get back into your spot," said Hadley. "The biggest thing for us is communication. A lot of times in a game setting, especially if you're at their house, you have to understand the signals and get them quick because it's going to be loud.
"In a fast pace offense there's not a lot of time for that and it can create a lot of confusion. You put a lot of time in watching film so you can get an idea from the pre-snap read and can see what's available. That is now all shortened because you're looking for the call. By the time you get that and get lined up, they've already snapped the ball, so it just speeds everything up and it just makes it that much more difficult."
The offense was able to quickly sub players in and out, making it difficult for the defense to counter with substitutions of its own. On top of being tired, the defense quickly found itself in mismatches on the field.
"We also knew when we were going to sub and we were able to do all the subbing in and out really quickly," said Hoffman. "We did that really good today and that just kept them on the field and not able to sub in and out. We have to keep them on the field and tired and on their heels to make it more difficult for them to get that rest. I thought we did a really good job of that today."
"Yeah, they did a really good job with that part of their execution," Hadley said. "It made it really tough for us to adjust but I liked it. You have to be quicker and I thought overall it will help both sides of the ball get better."
Throughout spring camp, the defense has primarily dominated the efforts of the offense. Injuries played a part in that, but Coach Doman simplified the offense in an effort to increase repetition. Now the coaches want to run the offense at a rapid pace, having polished up those routes and plays through the sheer volume of repetition.
"I feel like throughout spring we just gradually increased our offensive plays and now we're able to run a more complex offense at a faster pace," Hoffman said. "We just incorporated the faster pace part of our offense today. It was a little slower than we expect it to be, and there were some mistakes, but it was an overall good turnout. We're going to get faster and better every day."
"The order of importance this spring has been grit first, execution second, and now we're putting in the tempo third," Coach Doman said. "We'll finish the tempo part of our focus, having worked on our grit and execution this week."
"Last year it seemed like we huddled a lot," said Hoffman. "When we needed to, we did a two-minute tempo, which is no huddle. I think we're going to be even faster than that with our offense now. But I think we're going to be even faster than that. We want to get on teams in a hurry and put up points quickly and as fast as we can."