Saturday was the first time the team has been able to compete in a live scrimmage format this season. While many both the first and second units continued battling for position, and several players made big plays, the coaching staff apparently saw a number of issues that needed to be addressed on Monday.
"We need to be energized today," the coaches told the players in the pre-practice meetings. "We need to be disciplined at all times. We need to control what we can control, and make plays on the things we can't."
Of note was the emphasis on little mishaps that could be the difference between wins and losses heading into the season. Penalties along the line were mentioned as well as the consequences of not executing in a disciplined fashioned.
"The down and distance all can change from one mistake. We don't need to make it difficult by being undisciplined."
Soon after the team split into various positional drills with their respective coaches - the emphasis being on things such as footwork, vision, and timing. The defensive line was getting a particularly tough workout focusing on improving footwork after locking up with an opponent. Both lines were being put through similarly aimed drills with the offensive line working on the far side of the field.
KICKING GAME STILL BEING WORKED
Back in focus was both aspects of the kicking game (field goals & punting). On this day junior Nick Maggio made a couple of 49 yard attempts from the left hash mark. Backup Will Snyderwine also showed the ability to convert out into the upper 40s. Both kickers were getting the ball up and out quickly while the line was able to keep the defensive pressure at bay long enough for the attempts to get up.
In the punting game the first team returners appear to have solidified in the form of receiver Johnny Williams and cornerback Leon Wright. One interesting note was Maggio stepping back and making a couple of kicks in relief of redshirt junior Kevin Jones. Both players worked before practice with kicks ranging from 38-45 yards.
The coverage was also being drilled by the coaching staff on both the return and coverage game. On this day the coverage seemed to win the battles at the line and down the field aside from one chance that saw Wright break through for a good return.
NEWS & NOTES
*- Practice will be closed for the majority of the week as the team begins really working on formations and the overall playbook.
*- Whether or not the illness outbreak that struck the program was swine flu remains up for debate. Regardless, several players returned to full contact on Monday after battling the bug(s). The only players held out of full contact appeared to be those whom have already been sidelined officially (Kinney Rucker, Anthony Young-Wiseman, etc)
*- Good news out of the weekend and Sunday's off day was that none of the injuries sustained appeared to be serious. Conner Vernon was back in full contact (i.e. no black shirt) as well as tight ends Brandon King and Brett Huffman.
*- The visitors' locker room is in the final stages. The parking lot outside was paved over the weekend. In addition the construction between the new turf practice field and the grass section should be ceasing soon. There is an additional light pole that will be erected in the next day or two and then the area will be sodded.
*- The team will host a second scrimmage on Saturday followed by the annual "Meet the Blue Devils" event.