Coach Owens got his baptism in the spring and now is ready to prepare him and the players for the upcoming season. "I'm no different than the players; I'm just trying to get better every day," said Owens. "I'm trying to get used to the routine and trying to get the players going in the right direction.
Depth will not be a problem at A Back this season and Coach Owens will have a lot of players to watch. "Having depth at any position is a great problem to have and we're trying to grind the fundamentals and to instill basics and make sure all the guys from the old to the young are playing fast and developing great habits to carry us through the season."
Coach Owens loses Anthony Allen to the B Back position but he still has experienced players like Roddy Jones, Embry Peeples, and Marcus Wright at the A Back position. "It is a benefit for the young guys to have older guys to reinforce what I'm preaching in the film room and they can go out there and see the older guys doing what I'm saying in the film room."
One of those younger players is sophomore Orwin Smith. Smith enters his second season in the offense ready to make a contribution. For all the guys whether it's Orwin or guys like Roddy, Embry, and Marcus we hope every year they get better and for Orwin his growing up and trying to get better every day.
Another player that has drawn the attention of the staff is freshman B.J. Bostic. Coach Johnson and the offensive coaches are looking for ways to get Bostic on the field. One of the plans for Bostic this season is to give him a look as a return man on special teams in addition to playing A Back. "They're going to look at me at kick return and punt return," said Bostic. "B.J. is getting some reps and so is Charles and the other freshmen and right now we're giving them an early look before we get honed in for the season," said Coach Owens.
Coming in early has also given Bostic the advantage of getting stronger. "I think B.J. can tell you that he still wants to get stronger," said Coach Owens. "When I first came in I weighed 154 and when I weighed in today I was 172."
Having the spring to practice with the team will allow Bostic to use his athletic ability now that he has a better grasp of the offense. "It's a process with the young guys and you're just trying to help them learn and it's like a building block adding something every day and I think that by coming in early he and Perkins got a jump on learning the speed of the game and gave them the extra months to learn their teammates and the playbook."
Getting into the playbook has helped Bostic get an edge on some of the younger players this preseason. "Coming in early in the spring I had the advantage of learning the playbook and when we came out here in the preseason I was already ahead of the other guys," said Bostic. "When I first stated learning, I was playing timid and now I'm playing fast and everything is slowing down for me." Bostic has also been taking advantage of his teammates that have experience and can help him with the offense. "Whenever I have a question I can go to them and get help with whatever I need on the field."
There has been a lot of talk this preseason about the A Backs doing a better job of catching the ball. Owens and the backs are placing the usual emphasis on getting better in this phase of the game. "Improving catching the ball, improving blocking and improving making plays are the general idea for what we're trying to do this year at A Back and this year is no different than any other year," said Coach Owens. "We're definitely making a point of improving in all those areas this year."