So Much to Do, So Little Time

When the MWC laid out its 2006 football schedule, TCU was supposed to play Grambling State last Saturday. When Grambling pulled out of the game, TCU was left with 12 days to prepare for BYU. Meanwhile, the Cougars only had three days to get ready for the defending conference champs. Jan Jorgensen explains how the team used its precious prep time this week.

Following last Saturday's game with Utah State, the BYU coaching staff only let the Cougars celebrate for a fifteen seconds, and then it was on to TCU. Coach Mendenhall passed out a DVD highlighting both the TCU offense and defense for scouting purposes.

"I'll tell you what, these guys are on top of things here," smiled inside linebacker Aaron Wagner. "These guys don't mess around when it comes to preparing us week in and week out no matter how much time we have."

From a coaching standpoint, all the various factors that go into a regular week's worth of preparation have to be condensed. With the shortened week, the coaches will introduce new schemes, plays, reads and calls on Monday for learning purposes. The physical and mental side of things will be squeezed into Tuesday and Wednesday practices.

"Early in the week the coaches pull out a lot of stuff and they want to see it ran against the offense and the defense," said 6-foot3, 265-pound Jan Jorgensen. "On Monday, we spent time making our reads and getting in our calls because we've never seen some of these things before. It gives us a chance to see and learn what to do, and then on Tuesday the mental game should be better and things should be a lot sharper. Then the next couple of days they will either add stuff or take stuff out. The calls that we want to run will be polished up for the game plan that we have set."

So how did the team do with the bevy of information presented to them during Monday's practice?

"I think we did alright," Jorgensen said. "There is a lot of learning and we had a few mistakes because it's the first time we've seen some things as well as with us doing some new things as well. There will be a few mistakes made today but things get polished up better on Tuesday where we will then see things become a lot quicker.

"That's usually how it is every week but the process is usually a little slower. In general, things are kind of spread out but now things are kind of combined because of how short we have to prepare for TCU. We have to find out quickly what we want to keep or not keep."

Along with polishing up what they've learned on Monday, the team has to prepare themselves mentally the next few days to be ready to play come Thursday.

"We have to put the mental and the physical side of things all in together," said Jorgensen.

The coaches have stressed to the team that getting themselves ready for a game so soon has to happen off the field as much as it happens on the field.

"The coaches have said that if we think we're all going to be able to do all of this during practice, we can't," said Jorgensen. "We were told that we have to prepare ourselves off the field by spending time watching film and preparing that way. The coaches also want us to get the mental side of things going more off the field than getting it going on the field. If we just wait to do it when we get on the field, we won't be ready to play when the time comes. It's a lot of pressure on us to become mentally prepared but we can do it."

Today was the last day of preparation for the Cougars. This morning they combined what they normally do on Thursday and Friday practices into one session. Immediately after practice, the team left for the airport so they could be in Texas in time to do their pre-game fireside this evening.

"On Wednesday we have our run through," said Jorgensen. "It's kind of like how we do it before our games. We go through things to prepare for game day and see where we are at mentally. We will come out here and do a practice run through in the morning, and then fly out from here right after that."


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