Veteran Practice Report 8/10

Every year heading into fall camp, reports come out of how hard working and unified the team was during the off-season. However, when fall practices begin and the season progresses, the fruits of off-season labors are not readily apparent. In a refreshing change to that trend, the evidence of off-season diligence is apparent after just the second day of Cougar practices.

"Every year I've been here we've had guys stay over the summer and work out, but this year, more players stayed for longer periods of time working out than ever before," said starting quarterback John Beck. "Some guys didn't miss anything all summer."

The progression of the offense under Robert Anae's new system has seen marked improvement since the close of spring practice.

"We were learning on the run during the spring," said receiver Daniel Coats. "We were hesitant and a bit timid in everything we did."

Coats has also shown personal improvement since the spring as he is looking increasingly comfortable in the new offense.

"When I came here I was used to playing receiver," said Coats. "I then learned tight end, and now I'm back to playing receiver for the most part again, so it's sort of like coming home for me. I also lost about 15 pounds in the off-season, so I'm moving better and I feel that I'm faster now. I definitely feel more confident now than I have for some while. I feel my timing is better and just everything else is coming together now."

In the past, the players may not have been strongly focused on the purpose of continuing to work hard once the season is over. Now the players are very aware of why they are putting forth such great effort after the pads had been turned in.

"We had a clearer vision of what we needed to do this summer," explained Coats. "There was a clearer purpose and I really felt that we weren't working out to just work out and show the team that we were hard workers, but I really think that all of us improved and made improvements every day and you're seeing that over the first two days of practice."

"The bar was set clearly at the end of spring camp by Coach Mendenhall and Coach Anae of where they expected us to be by the start of fall camp," said Beck. "We worked extremely hard as a team to get there and I feel that we were very successful for the most part." Of course, the team is no where near where they need to be by the end of the season, and that knowledge keeps the players' motors running.

"We have to keep going and going and getting better," said Coats. "We can't rest and pat ourselves on the back for how well we did in the off-season or we'll fall back. We can't be satisfied with anything. We have to improve every single day."

Head coach Bronco Mendenhall noted that he did see improvement from the first day to today following practice.

"I felt that the execution was slightly better, but the effort and intensity was much better," said Coach Mendenhall. "Even though the players improved a lot during the spring we saw after watching film today that there are still some habits that need to be addressed."

Practice Notes:

-A New York Giants scout was in attendance scouting out several unnamed players

-Recruit Romney Fuga attended practice with some of his high school teammates and his family

-Kyle Tew and Eric Freeman got into a bit of a scuffle during the linemen one-on-one drills and had to be separated by teammates

-Zac Collie took the ball the distance for 80 yards and a score during 7-7 drills

-Matt Allen showed well during the light scrimmage catching a 20 yard touchdown pass from John Beck, another 15 yard pass from Beck and another short slant from Beck

-Several sacks were recorded during the final 11 on 11 drill. Sean Sullivan, Hala Paongo, Cameron Jensen, Spencer White, Manaia Brown and Corby Hodgkiss all got through the line to drop the quarterback

-Cameron Jensen had several nice plays including one where he broke up a shovel pass to Ray Hudson which was whistled dead behind the line of scrimmage

-Linebacker Gary Lovely jumped another run by Hudson in the backfield for a negative 4 yard loss

-Linebacker Paul Walkenhorst met Fahu Tahi in the backfield for a negative 2 yard loss

-Katback Ryan Beck jumped a slant pattern by Michael Morris to knock the ball away

-Johnny Harline caught a 20 yard touchdown pass from Matt Berry

-Berry completed a 17 yard pass to Todd Watkins for a crucial fourth down conversion

-The practice ended with Berry hitting Joe Griffin on a deep slant for a 35 yard touchdown completion

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