The Cardinal football team continued its spring football practice with a two-hour session on Friday afternoon- their third of the spring. The team will get back to work on Saturday, with a practice that will feature the week's first live scrimmaging.
"It should fun, that first live tackle," offensive coordinator Garrick McGee said Friday of the impending scrimmage.
"(We will) get to see them play football. We've kind of been playing basketball out here with no pads on for the first few days."
As all sessions will be over the coming weeks, Saturday's 10 a.m. practice will be open to the public.
Now a few practices in, McGee said he's starting to see improvement in the installation of his offensive scheme. The new offensive coordinator lauded his player's effort and work ethic when speaking with the media, while admitting that the process will take time.
"They're really working hard," he said. "The thing is, offensively, that all eleven people have to be on the same page. It takes a while to get everything clicking. We install a lot of offense, and we have a really complex defense."
"We've still got a lot of learning to do, but I feel like it's coming along pretty well," said prospective starting quarterback Will Gardner. "It's different. It's a whole new offense, but it's still football. I feel like everybody is catching on," the 6-foot-5, 230-pound sophomore said of the learning process. "It's still going to take some time, but with some hard work we're going to get it figured out.
Gardner, who appeared in six games and threw two touchdowns for the Cards in 2013, has shared reps through spring practice with redshirt freshman Kyle Bolin. With a commanding presence breaking the huddle and a strong throwing arm, Gardner appears on the outside to be the current favorite to succeed NFL-bound Cardinal quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
Non-committal, though, about Gardner's status as a first-teamer, McGee expressed pleasure with the young passer's early development.
"He's doing a good job, he's really studying football," McGee said. "Understanding what ball to throw, understanding how zone pressures work, and how to find players and open your shoulders- everything that it takes to be a quarterback on this level is what he's learning."
"We're really happy with him right now."
Both the team and coaching staff will learn a great deal when the Cardinals hit the field for their first round of full-contact on Saturday morning.
"Football is about tackling, and hitting, and contact," says an enthused McGee. "It should be fun"