As the days at Camp Higher Ground are winding down, the University of Cincinnati Bearcats football team will soon be leaving their preseason home and head back to the campus in Clifton. Calling Higher Ground home has become an annual tradition for the Bearcats and many positive things happen when the team is there.
The first thing everyone talks about is the quality of food provided by the staff at Higher Ground. With many players losing weight in football camps across the country the Bearcats find players gaining positive weight by the time camp is over.
But while I'm sure all the players have enjoyed their stay it's time to get back to the real world of college athletics and a home opener against Eastern Michigan just 13 days away.
On Thursday Bearcat Insider made the trip to higher ground for the last time this preseason. After covering at least one practice every day of camp, Tim Adams is back to his regular job as he reports today for the first day of his teaching duties and I keep working on what should be some big news for Bearcat Insider members in the coming weeks. But while both Tim and I looked forward to Thursdays practice, the coaching staff made a change in its schedule and the only action we saw for the day was a walk-thru as the team prepared for a kicking scrimmage later in the day.
We hope you enjoyed the coverage from preseason camp and found it like no other on the internet or in the local media around the Cincinnati area. Tim, Casey and I would like to thank several people who made our jobs easy during this period.
First and foremost is the coaching staff of the Bearcats. Coach Dantonio and his staff have allowed us the chance to cover a team on the rise in the Big East this past spring and again this summer. I can't stress enough how great of a job this staff is doing with this program. We would also like to thank Strength and Conditioning Coach Tim Swanger for taking the time from his busy schedule to update us on the progress being made by the players in the weight program. I would also like to thank John Widecan for his help when a question comes up and you need a quick answer. John is the backbone of the football program and a major asset to the success the program has.
Second we want to thank the University of Cincinnati administrative staff. People like Mr. Bob Goin who always has a smile and a warm greeting when he sees you at practice along with his staff of many. The job done by Brian Teter and Tom Hathaway is second to none. Working to keep the members of the media happy is a tough one, but both of these men work hard long hours and do their best of making sure the media knows of chances to cover the team and any change in practice due to weather (heat this year) or coaches having a change of plans.
Tim and I also would like to thank the members of the main stream media who approached us during camp and told us they enjoy the work were doing. That means a lot for a site that has only been up and running for the past eight months.
But most of all we want to thank the players who take the time after a hot day on the field. Because they are willing to take the time and talk were able to bring Bearcat fans information on more than just the few players who make the highlights during the season. In time we will work to have stories on every member of this year's team.
Thursday was Bearcat Insiders last day of Camp Higher Ground coverage. While it didn't go as planed it allowed us the chance to reflect on the whirlwind days behind us. The Bearcats will finish their work on Friday and head home on Saturday morning for a scrimmage and to stay on campus. Sunday will start the official countdown to Eastern Michigan and the work related to starting the 2005 season off with a strong victory. Bearcat Inside will be on hand for the scrimmage and bring you complete coverage from the day.
But now let's get down to the last information from Camp Higher Ground on Thursday.
The Bearcats were scheduled to take the field in the morning for a kick scrimmage. But the scheduled was changed and instead the Bearcats went into meetings and each group did their strength workout in the Bearcats make shift weight room.
As players walked into the doors of the weight facility they soon heard the booming voice of Coach Swanger greet them so they would pickup the pace and get started.
First into the weight room was the offense after coming out of their meetings. Players went through several stations as partners until all the work was completed. There was no goofing off by players as Coach Swanger made sure they completed their work.
One lifter was quarterback coach Dan Enos. The former Michigan State quarterback still looks as if he could still play and his performance with the weights didn't make us think twice about it.
The one thing quickly noticed about today was camp is winding down. You can see it in the player's eyes and hear it in their voices. While they have enjoyed their stay on the border of Ohio and Indiana, they are ready to return to campus and get the 2005 season underway.
While the offense was in the weight room, defensive coaches had player held up in meetings preparing for the days walk-thru and Saturday scrimmage.
As the offensive players finished the staff quickly got prepared for the next group to hit the weights as the defense came out of their meetings and into the room. The last to enter were the linebackers who quickly saw coaches pushing for them to get going.
As the defense finished the several drills it was time for the staff to start the first of several moves back to the campus in Clifton. Defensive players quickly moved weights and machines towards the moving truck and into its box. While were sure it was not needed, a lift gate did help in placing the machines onto the truck.
Soon defensive coaches were hitting the doors and getting the defense ready to take the field. Both offense and defensive coaches worked on the small details of their team's plays and after feeling good about the progress they went into a group special team's session with Coach Hinton in total control.
This was not your regular practice as players wore flip-flops, tennis shoes and even a few who chose to not wear any shoes at all. But don't think for a moment the coaches were taking it easy. This was designed to cover the fine points of every play and players had better paid attention.
Thing went quick and before the players knew it, they were headed back for more meetings and to prepare for the afternoons practice and kicking scrimmage. Because of the change in schedule we weren't able to be on hand for the kicking scrimmage.
Today the Bearcats put the finishing touches on camp and prepare to enjoy their last night at Higher Ground. Saturday they will take the field and bang heads again with a full scrimmage. Saturday should give fans more of a clue as to any changes the coaching staff has made and a more detailed depth-chart should take shape.