I met Coach Paul Longo for the first time today and had a good conversation. One of the topics we got on was the life of a college coach; it's definitely not all glamour. Over the past 3 years Coach Longo has been separated from his family for 9 months while switching jobs, with 2 young kids that can really be a strain both mentally and financially. The family will re-unite in town after school is out in June. Hopefully the Longo's will turn Cincinnati into a lengthy stop. Coach Longo began his career at Iowa with Hayden Fry; he was there 18 years and has developed his unique approach thru his experiences. He felt that the facilities at Lindner Center were equal to or better than any in the country, everything he needs to build this team into a champion is here.
Today I focused a lot of attention on watching Brian Kelly go about his work. He pays attention to every detail, and not just football. As he was wrapping up practice he pointed out each of the trash cans to the team that are around the field, his point was that he didn't want anything being left on the stadium turf when it could easily be thrown away. One of the players told me that Coach Kelly coaches the exact way he wants his players to behave, be intense on the field and a gentlemen off. The player went on to say that as intense as coach is on the field, he is that relaxed when you talk to him away from the field.
Digger Bujnoch told me that center while more challenging than tackle is a position he is having fun with, he likes the move.
I confirmed with Khalil El-Amin that his knee is feeling fine. I told him he was moving around like Fred Astaire in a footwork drill. His dad Hassan laughed but Khalil was quiet, it occurred to me afterward that he probably didn't know who I was talking about.
This incoming recruiting class is loaded with intelligence. Alex Apyan, the long snapper from Chattanooga will be studying Aero Space Engineering. He is not the exception as I have found several of the recruits to be very bright kids.
This is my first experience covering practice, I would encourage you to stop by and take one in. The pace is fast and intense, at first a bit overwhelming but you see so much of what it takes to build a team. It has been a real learning experience.