"You start watching film and realize there are a lot of issues that still need to be addressed," Head Coach Dave Rose said. "We addressed a couple of them on Saturday and a couple today. We brought some new things in the film room today to the guys. There are a lot of things we need to get better."
Coach Rose said that the effort of the players on Friday night was good, but the team's execution was "spotty at times." He was pleased to see the team hit the offensive glass hard and track down loose balls, but that is almost a catch-22 as he would like to have seen better defensive rebounding as well.
For the present, the team is working on a consistent effort. Coach Rose said that the team is really learning how to compete hard when asked, then tone it down and be coachable. When the point is understood, they are getting very good at jumping back into the competitive nature of practice.
He is also pleased with how the team is coming together. "I just really think the chemistry of the group is starting to gel," Rose said. "Guys are really starting to pull for each other."
Other concerns of the present are two ankle sprains, one to Rashaun Broadus and the other to Jimmy Balderson. Broadus did not participate much in Monday's practice. Balderson is able to run, but his ability to cut on the ankle is limited. Coach Rose, hopes that he can play through it the next few days and be ready for the season opening exhibition game on Friday. Although, he did say that if Balderson is not "full-go" he could sit and rest.
He does want to see Broadus back out there though. "We need Shaun to play," Rose said. "He's the guy we need to get in these situations and get him ready to play. Hopefully his ankle heals to the point that we can practice him a couple days this week and get him in there this Friday."
As for the future, the first decision to "invest" in a player's future with a red-shirt was made today. Sam Burgess will sit out this year and get ready for 2006-2007. With nine juniors on the roster, players need to be split up. Burgess said he is working on changing his mindset to helping his team get better this year.
"The red-shirt is bitter sweet," Burgess said. "You prepare to play all year. You look forward to the games. Now I have to focus on every day and getting a little better each day and help my team each day. That's my goal right now, to help these guys get better. For me, it's just down the road a little bit. For me it's the best things for everyone."
Specifically, Burgess wants to get stronger in his legs and become quicker. He will continue working on his shot as "you can always shoot better."
Coach Rose did address some of the reasons why Burgess will red-shirt. "Sam is the only decision so far," Rose said. "We decided that he's going to be a really good player here. Somebody needed to move to the sophomore class and through the first few weeks of practice and watching Sam play the other night we really feel that we want to invest in Sam and give him another year and think he can really help our program.
"He's a guy with a competitive spirit. He's a good athlete. He plays to win. He's easy to coach. He comes to play every day and he plays hard. That's why I believe he is the best candidate. He'll use the year the best to improve the most and help us down road."
Other potential red-shirt candidates are juniors Mike Rose, Fernando Malaman, Keena Young, Jimmy Balderson and freshman Lee Cummard and Jackson Emery. If a player who played with the program last year, plays in any game this season (including exhibitions) they are not eligible for a red-shirt. Players who are new to the program can play in exhibitions and still red-shirt. So, a decision on Malaman, Cummard and Emery does not need to be made by this Friday.
The Cougars have two exhibition games (Victoria and Seattle Pacific) on November 4th and 10th before opening the season at home on November 18 against Loyola Marymount.