Gary Pinkel is excited about his team's progress, but more importantly he is pleased with the competiveness of his Tigers.
Pinkel and his staff design every practice for the players to compete on every drill and on every snap. It appears to be paying off. After a two hour plus practice Thursday, the veteran coach acknowledged his team's progress.
"It was a very good practice," Pinkel said. "Very spirited, very competitive as most people know that watch us practice we make it competitive for a reason. It's good for players; it's about win or loses on every play of the game. How they adjust, how they react to adversity."
Pinkel declared that his team was ready for Saturday's game day scrimmage type situations. Each squad, first team, second team and third team offenses and defenses will each get 60 plus snaps in the Tiger's first major scrimmage after spring break.
"I loved the competitiveness and how physical we were today," Pinkel said. "Saturday is game day. When you compete you don't win every time, it's all about competing every play. I have told the team I would rather have a locker room full of great competitors than a locker room full of great athletes."
Speaking of competing
The offensive line squares off against the defensive linemen everyday in one on one competition. Score is kept by the coaches and whoever wins overall at the end of the day whoever wins gets to where the Black Jerseys the next day. Also the losers of the day get to do up downs in the middle of the field, including the coaches. Very interesting to watch to say the least.
Every drill when the offense and defense gets together is about competing against each other. Seven on seven, one on ones with wide receivers and the defensive backs, are all ways the team competes against one another every day in practice.
For the last two practices the offense has been victorious. Before the break the offense hadn't won a 7-on7 competition overall against the defense.
"We are getting better with every practice," Offensive coordinator David Yost said. "Our guys are starting to come together as a unit. We are getting some of our veteran playmakers back out on the field and it's starting to make a difference. Our confidence level is getting better with each practice."
Derrick Washington and Jared Perry returned to the practice field this week, wearing a half red jersey indicating they can go half speed and only can do certain things. Washington was seen at Thursday's practice jumping and pumping up the offensive unit, his leadership is very evident.