For head coach Tommy Bowden, now is the time for the team to start to build on the momentum established last season, as the Tigers try and take the proverbial "next step."
Of course, he won't be able to do that until some questions are answered this spring. Namely, can the team continue to improve in the running game and on defense, while also adding quality depth up front and in the secondary.
"Somebody needs to step up," said Bowden referring to his offensive backfield. "Yusef has looked good. Duane has looked good. Reggie's probably third, but somebody needs to step up and become the guy."
Bowden's goal for his team is simple.
He wants 2,000 yards on the ground, and he wants it this season.
It almost goes without saying that 2,000 yards would give him that elusive offensive balance that has been missing ever since Woody Dantzler played his last game more than two years ago.
|Marion Dukes will anchor the right side of the line this year, but Bowden still wants to see more out of both him and LT Roman Fry.|
Two other areas of the team that need work, according to Bowden, may come as somewhat a surprise.
For starters, Bowden says that he's concerned about the progress, or lack of progress rather, resting with his two offensive tackles and their back ups.
"We are trying to find the answer at tackle right now, and we're struggling to do that," said Bowden.
Reshirt sophomore Roman Fry and sophomore Marion Dukes figure to have the clear edge headed into fall practice, but they'll be challenged by two freshmen this fall in Cory Lambert and Barry Richardson.
Bowden also says that he'll continue to focus on making his team "tougher."
"We've focused more on the running game up to this point," said Bowden. "You like to give your defense that look during the spring and we'll continue to do that."
Finally, for the upcoming week of practice, which will include sessions on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, as well as a scrimmage on Saturday, Bowden says that he'll focus more this week on adding some new wrinkles to his playbook.
"There are some other things we want to look at. We've tried to go fundamentals and not add too much scheme stuff," said Bowden.
"There's some things defensively, we've asked them to go slow so we can get a look at some guys and start looking at some different things in expanding our schemes and becoming a little more comprehensive."
It all starts all over again later this afternoon as the Tigers hit the practice fields for their fifth practice of spring ball. As always, CUTigers.com will have you covered with news, notes, and analysis, so make sure you keep it right here!