"Kings Island was very busy, a lot of Bearcat fans, and a lot of signatures. There was a lot of support there. It was a good event for our guys as they got a chance to have some fun and relax a little bit. And it was good because we got another chance to connect with our fan base. It was a good day, a good day for everybody."
What must have been disappointing for Kelly on Saturday made for an interesting morning session at Camp Higher Ground located in West Harrison, Indiana.
Much like the thrill rides Kelly rode with his kids on Sunday; his offense has seen its share of ups and downs during the past few days in camp.
While many of the same drills were repeated as they have been since camp opened, there was a more frantic pace by coaches and players. Anyone caught slacking in effort was made aware someone was watching and taking notes.
The offense looked crisper in the morning session during drills as Tony Pike and the rest of the first team players looked to get back on track. For Pike it wasn't so much a bad performance on Saturday as it was other members of the offense having made numerous mistakes in holding onto the football or in their assignments.
Kelly was quick to praise his quarterback after practice for his performance on Saturday despite the overall poor performance of the offense as a whole.
"I was pleased as Tony only made one mistake in terms of his progression reads."
As for the overall performance of his team Kelly didn't waste any words.
"The penalties on offense clearly were a lack of fundamentals and good positioning. I think we have to find when Jason Kelce is not in the lineup we've got to get better play from our guards when he's not in there. Defensively I liked our young safeties Pat Lambert played very well, Wes Richardson played well. Derek Wolfe was outstanding two-gaping. There were a lot of pleasant surprises and then there were a lot of guys we expected to play well that did. Going back and looking at it the things we're going to work on this week were from that scrimmage."
But make no mistake. The Bearcats only have a few more days to get ready for a Big East team (Rutgers) in their season opener on the road. Positions are up for grad and Kelly is looking for players to step up.
"There is definitely some movement in the positions. I told our guys before we came into camp it's not my job to notice you, it's your job to make me notice you. And now that we say that, if a guy is making us notice him we've got to be able to reward him as well. So this week is about guys starting to see the reps rather they deserve them or they need to be cutback. So there is definitely that competitive situation between if a guy is getting all the first team reps or is he sharing reps or if you're getting second or third team reps. And then the second element in that is consistency and performance. We're looking for guys who are going to be our front line guys to be more consistent. So it's an important week from that standpoint."
The biggest drill of the session came at the end as the Bearcats offense was given the ball on the three yard line forcing the defense to play goal line defense. The offense had their share of wins in the drill but you could notice they miss the play of running back John Goeble who is still nursing a minor injury. While the drill was set up more for the defense, the staff also knew it was a good time for the offense to show what it could do pushing the ball over.
"We told our defense we don't want the ball on the three yard line. But if it's down here goal line defense is played by just selling out and a great deal of attitude. So we were trying to create that attitude."
One player who seems to have realized the chance in front of him is Darrin Williams. How does Coach Kelly see Williams progressing?
"He's gotten a lot more of an opportunity. I think is more about him getting reps since he really didn't get none last camp as he was redshirted. He's done a nice job and he's given us what we've expected. He's a physical kid who is strong (one of our stronger kids) and he can catch the football. He's definitely made himself into a player we can count on."
Williams proved this during the goal line drill as again he was called upon as Jacob Ramsey struggled to run with the power the staff is looking for.
Goal Line Drill
1. Play stopped by defense.
2. Touchdown Zach Collars a pitch to Marcus Waugh who took it in.
3. Collars passes to Ben Guidugli touchdown.
4. Hand off to Scott Johnson for TD.
5. Chazz Anderson handoff to Jacob Ramsey who goes outside TD.
6. Second string line in. Anderson rolls right throws to Guidugli who has the ball ripped out in the endzone for no catch.
7. Ball on one with Anderson at QB. Hand off to Darrin Williams but stopped.
8. Offensive fumble by Scott Johnson defense recovers.
9. Collars ball on 2, rolls right should have been a sack but hits Kazeem Alli for a TD.
10. Handoff to Johnson for a touchdown to the right side.
11. Handoff to Johnson defense makes the stop.
12. Anderson handoff to Ramsey who is stopped. Ramsey didn't run hard on play and is pulled by coaches.
13. Anderson rolls right takes in for the score.
14. Anderson hands off to running back defense claims a stop with a fumble offense claims score.
During this drill the defense was fully into stopping the Bearcats offense. Other than the scrimmage this might have been the most exciting part of camp since it opened.