The heat this morning at Higher Ground was stifling, but the Bearcats finished their summer camp with a practice primarily geared toward preparing for every possible scenario in a game. They practiced everything from how to take a safety at the end of the game to properly celebrating after a touchdown.
-The team's health is amazing. After 24 practices, only Drew Frey was held out of practice today. The good health can be attributed to Coach Longo's conditioning, Bob Mangine and his staff's care of the athletes and the coaching staff's prudent use of full contact.
-Speaking of Bob Mangine (head trainer), I've been calling him the toughest man in college football as he wore a black pullover during the hottest practices. He explained to me today that he wore the jacket to get a better feel for what the players were facing so he could better manage water breaks.
-Coach Kelly had a sheet of 40 unusual situations that the team practiced today. One was recently added to the list that Coach Kelly explained came from a game between TCU and UAB. A defender intercepted a ball in his own endzone late in a game, and when he tried to run the ball out, he fumbled. The opponent recovered the fumble and kicked the winning field goal as time expired. The lesson is not to come out of the endzone with an interception late in the game.
-I saw only one interception today. Mike Mickens picked Ben Mauk in the red zone when he stepped in front of the receiver.
-The refrain heard by the coaches after a Bearcat score was-"Celebrate with your teammates." The officials said as long as the celebration wasn't excessive or scripted, it was okay to celebrate.
After seeing 19 practices, here's how I think the Bearcats will line up for the opener, but not necessarily how I'd line them up.
Those may or may not be the starters, but a lot of other Bearcats will see plenty of action. The staff really hates to use the term "starters" because they know they'll be using plenty of players during the course of a game.
I hope members have found the practice reports/stories helpful this summer and don't be afraid to hit my Inbox with what you liked and didn't like. The feedback is always helpful. This practice report will be my 27th football camp story since practice started on August 3rd.
Tomorrow I have a story about the player that I believe has been the biggest offensive surprise in summer camp.