OPENING STATEMENT: Much better practice. I would have been really disappointed if they hadn't responded. They just seemed fresher today. It's hotter, but they had a little spring in their step. I thought maybe it's my music that we're playing before. Kind of had a little ‘Run around Sue' today. A little Ray Charles. ‘Crazy Love'. Maybe that got them going. I don't know. But it was a good practice. We've got some extra days kind of built into our schedule, the way it's set up. Both sides of the ball, we're trying to install some things we know we're going to need at some point in the season, based on what we're going to see, based on our scouting reports. We're trying to do a good job building our library on some things that we haven't done yet. So when the time comes, we'll have a good feel for and not start from ground zero. That's good. Tomorrow will be another typical practice. More conditioning. Monday we'll start getting into our normal game week. Tuesday will be our last full speed tackling-type situation. We'll be thudding from that point on. Good practice. Right on schedule. I was telling the team you can almost start to smell it now. When you take a break, in between whistles you hear the band playing off in the background. Campus is busier and it's getting exciting. I'm anxious to see these guys play. I really am. I'm interested to see what kind of a team this is going to be.
GOOD ON GOOD: Competitive reps is what we call them. You can hardly get more competitive reps than what we get. We do a lot of work. That's what we feel like makes us better. Once you get into the season, you have a limited amount of that. You do some inside and have some one on ones. You do pass rush, team pass. We always finish every practice during the season, good on good, for at least a period every single day. It gives us a little bit of a hard edge and helps us to continue to have the mentality we want to have throughout the season. You can't do as much as much once you start school than you do in camp. We track all of that.
WHAT'S GETTING BETTER: They all get better. The d-linemen get better because I think we have good offensive linemen. The offensive linemen get better because we have good d-linemen. The receivers have to get better. We've got a bunch of guys in that secondary that are going to play in the NFL. You can mark that one down. They're good players. You either get better or you get exposed. You gain confidence from that. These guys understand talent. They understand competitiveness. That's what they do. They, I think, everybody gets more confident when you're going against good people. I would say a guy like Rod McDowell, for example. Here's a guy, if I just had to say a guy, has responded because he's either had to sink or swim. It's either get better or stand on the sideline. He chose to get better…as opposed to loving on him every day, he's getting hammered. If you're a true competitor, you're going to take that challenge and he's a guy that has. I think that has an effect on everybody.
RUNNING BACKS BEHIND MCDOWELL: We feel really good with those three guys. Little Daniel Barnes is a senior, walk on. We call him Archie Griffin, little No. 45. He runs hard and is a good guy to finish some games. We'd have to go to one of our freshmen if we lost a guy. As long as we keep those first three healthy, we're in good shape.
WHAT'S HELD BACK MARQUAN JONES?: Jacoby Ford. Tyler Grisham. Two guys playing on Sunday. That's who he's been behind…the big thing with Marquan, Jacoby couldn't beat Tyler out. They're good players. They take a lot of pride in what they do. Those two guys got better and better. Marquan has been kind of vying for his opportunity. Now, it's, OK, here's your opportunity to be the guy. Step up and seize the moment. He worked really hard on his body in the offseason. He's a fast guy. Worked hard on his quickness and explosiveness. He's had an excellent camp, really has. I have no issues with Marquan. Nobody wants to be as good a player as him. He's just had a hard time getting a lot of opportunities with the guys ahead of him. That's going to change. Seize the opportunity, then good. If not, somebody else will.
SECOND D-LINE: We're not where we need to be. Part of that is, a lot of times I look out there at that second group and nobody out there has played a snap. I'll see Tavaris Barnes, Tyler Shatley, Josh Watson and Kourtnei [Brown] didn't play last year. That group's got to grow up, especially when we had Da'Quan [Bowers] out. When you have Da'Quan back in the mix, it's a little different deal when you see Malliciah [Goodman] and Kourtnei out there. You've got a different flavor. And Rennie [Moore]. We've rolled a lot of guys with that first group. Rennie's a guy that we've got to have be more consistent, that we're counting on. Same thing with Kourtnei, a guy that we are absolutely counting on. We want to be able to play those guys any situation, any down. We're just not quite ready. It's not because they're not good enough.
RENNIE MOORE: He's pretty much just playing tackle. When you get into different fronts, like odd fronts, they play the end basically. They bump out in the five technique. He could, if we needed him to, without any question. He's playing tackle.
TAJH BOYD'S PT: We're going to try to take advantage of every opportunity we can to play him. He's going to be our guy. We've got to get him ready. We're not going to jeopardize the team. We're going to play the best player. Right now, Kyle [Parker] is the best player. Tajh has as good of talent, he's just not as good a player yet. He shouldn't be. We'll take advantage of every opportunity, wherever it presents itself to win a game. He's got to prepare every single week like he's the starter. That's what we've got to get him to buy into. He's got to prepare like a starter. When your opportunity comes, you've got to be ready. Whether it comes in a game or not, you have to be ready.
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