Thoughts On The First Padded Practice:
It was spirited as I expected it to be. Guys made some strides in some areas.
I thought we turned the ball over too many times on offense. The defense did a good job of making that happen.
There's some back-and-forth going on throughout practice. We got into the redzone today, that was a big focus, and the offense made some big plays in the redzone. In the move-the-ball segment the defense had their way with them, and that's what you want to see. You want to see the periods competing... back-and-forth, back-and-forth.
That was the fifth-straight day they've worked really hard. Tomorrow we'll come back with a similar practice, but we'll have a short-yardage scrimmage tomorrow. We'll see them finish some plays.
Can you tell from when you left off in April to this week?
I think there is, particularly up front. You've seen those guys be physical, and they aren't thinking as much. The communication... having [Joe] Scelfo at center it helps. Having that veteran player in the middle, it can control things for those guys. I think it's helped Tony [Adams] and Garrett [Bradbury] play fast.
All of them did a great job this summer. You can see a difference in their conditioning.
Can you see a noticeable difference in re-shaped bodies?
You can... some of the bodies you can see the changes. You look on paper and see the analysis and body fat differentials/strength gains, sometimes it doesn't equate to a 340-pound guy, how they look with their shirt off.
They are definitely going in the right direction. We're bigger, we're longer, and we're more explosive. The thing you like is they are playing hard 24 periods. We have Catapult, a system that tracks the intensity during practice so you can measure how hard they are working in the last couple of periods and they are working hard.
Do you see the difference with Thunder moving over to the next seat?
I think anytime you move up in the profession, obviously there is that excitement for doing it the first time.
Thunder was a great assistant and now he's taking a lot of pride in his new role. He's done well with it so far.
How has Nyheim Hines done coming out of track?
He was a little rusty at first.
He spent a lot of time in the backfield for us in the spring and now we have him getting reps in the slot so he has both kind of ironed out.
He made some good catches today. Today was probably his best day in camp catching the football.
Are the heads of the freshmen swimming?
Not as much as you would think. When they get here for summer school we are able to spend a couple of hours a week with them, teaching them the playbook. Our uppreclassmen have also done a nice job helping them out.
Kelvin Harmon doesn't look like he needed a lot of time with Thunder. Is he physically ready to play?
Physically he's 215 pounds or whatever, and he's put together. The game for him now is more about mental right now... all the things defenses do in college, making sure his mind is right so he can show his gift.
With JuMichael Ramos redshirting there is a big opportunity for somebody.
There sure is. Stephen Louis has an opportunity, and as you mentioned, Kelvin Harmon. I'd like to see Maurice Trowell take a step up for us now and become more of a playmaker.
Obviously we've talked about Bra'lon and Nyheim.
What have you noticed from Johnny Frasier and Reggie Gallaspy in their second year?
Both of them are more mature about the process. They are focused, they understand the workload, and they aren't out here bright-eyed. They understand what is about to happen in practice.
I've been impressed with Johnny in particular, just his daily focus. It's the best back-to-back -to-back... five days he has had... staying focused and getting better.
With Jerod Fernandez and Airius Moore, what can they do now since they aren't thinking as much?
They are very high football IQ players. They have a tremendous understanding of coach Huxtable's expectations and the playbook.
They can direct things, get people lined up, and anticipate what could happen from the offense. They have a lot of game reps banked, and that helps. Playing experience is valuable.
Anything with the kickers coming up?
We live-rushed them today and both made a kick. We'll continue to do that as we can.
Next Saturday we'll have a lot of kicks... next Saturday will be a full game scrimmage, and there will be a lot of kicks in that game.
What is your general assessment of the first week?
They are in great condition. They've had really positive attitudes. They understand how to take care of their bodies, to their credit.
The staff has done a really good job of hydrating them, nutrition... all the things that go into it.
It's a more mature team. It's been easier to get out of them what you want to get out of them so far.