"The offense was challenged in front of the entire team following yesterday's practice to do better," said Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall. "They answered that challenge today and if they hadn't, then I would have been concerned. If someone would ask any of you (the media) to write a better story and call you out in front of your peers I'd hope that you would respond and not put out the same story."
Today's session was intentionally just like yesterday's session as Coach Mendenhall wanted to work on controlling the ball and not turning it over while getting it into the end zone. "We recreated the same session we did yesterday," commented Mendenhall. "We'll continue putting them in the same situations until they master them. If they hadn't responded today, then we would have had the same exact practice on Monday."
The offense responded well to the challenges from the team captains and coaching staff during the final half-contact scrimmage with full pads getting the ball into the end zone with a 20 yard pass from John Beck to Matt Allen, a seven yard run from Fahu Tahi, a 15 yard pass from Matt Berry to Luke Ashworth and a 39 yard strike from Jason Beck to Joe Griffin.
"We turned it around today," replied Tahi. "Now the key is and what we need to work on is to respond quicker and during the same practice. We need to respond without having to have big meetings and all. We need to realize what we're doing when we're doing it and improve and respond quicker."
One of the keys to the offensive success today was Tahi getting more reps than he had during prior practice sessions. "Fahu Tahi needs as many reps as he can get as he learns to play into his new size a bit more than Curtis (Brown)," said Coach Mendenhall. "They both know the offense, the difference being Fahu adjusting to his slightly increased weight. Fahu brings an intensity and physicality that this offense needs. It's great having him in there."
"It felt great being out there getting more reps," said Tahi. "I'm here to play and play as often as possible. I need to get ready for game-time situation and the more reps the better."
On the other side of the field, the defense will most likely be called upon to respond better heading into Monday's practice. The main concern is the secondary as Coach Mendenhall related, "A lot of work needs to be done in the secondary. It's been the question since the beginning, so we'll continue teaching those guys what they ought to do and with an emphasis on making plays. That's what will determine who will play back there."
- Quinn Gooch, Phillip Niu, Nate Hutchinson, David Tafuna, Aaron Singh, Michael Reed, Vince Feula, Kayle Buchanan, Hala Paongo and Matt Ah You were all held out of contact drills today for various reasons.
- Quarterback John Beck led an impressive final drive during the two-minute drill against the first-team defense as he hit Johnny Harline twice for a combined 11 yards, a 12 yard pass to Joe Semanoff and a 24 yard strike on a deep slant. The final play was Beck trying to hit Todd Watkins in the back of the end zone as time expired from the three yard line. Oneil Howell draped himself all over Watkins on the play in what was blatant pass interference.
-Joe Griffin caught three passes during the scrimmage one of which went for a touchdown.
-KC Bills jumped another running play in the backfield dropping Joe Semanoff for a two yard loss.
-Justin Luettgerodt jumped an attempted shovel pass for no gain.
-JC transfer Justin Robinson saw all his reps with the second team defense.
-Monday will be the first practice open to the public. "It will be the same practice as if they weren't here," said Coach Mendenhall. If they're (the fans) are coming for entertainment then they're coming for the wrong reasons. It will be the same practice only with people watching."