Seven on seven drills had a different feel Tuesday from last year for sophomore Josh Bryant.
Part of the reason was the fact that Bryant was playing on offense after switching to wide receiver six months ago.
The main reason, however, was the intensity of the voluntary practice with the offense and defense trading barbs before and after every play. The Bellville product said the reason for that is that the players buying into what head coach June Jones and his coaching staff are selling.
"Believing is half the battle," he said. "After that it's just playing and they're letting us play."
The 5-foot-7, 170-pound Bryant said it is a dream come true to be playing in Jones' offense after the former Hawaii coach was hired this past January. And, similar to most of his teammates, Bryant was not oblivious to Jones previous accomplishments.
"Me and my roommate Emmanuel Sanders stayed up many nights watching Hawaii games and just saying ‘Man, I wish we had an offense like that,'" he said. "Next thing you know, (Jones) is getting introduced as the head coach."
Now he and his teammates are committed to changing the program in terms of wins and losses as evidenced in the intense seven on seven drills that occurred Tuesday evening. Bryant, in particular, is trying to learn how to read defenses in an attempt to be prepared for the ball to come his way under any circumstances.
That, however, has come at a price. "There is no such thing as summer vacation when you want to win," he said. "I told my mom and dad I love ‘em but, this summer, I probably won't be home much.
"I've been up here everyday this summer and haven't gone home yet."
His teammates are not very different. Bryant said the team is determined to, not only improve in terms of wins, a feat that he said is not hard after winning one game, but to turn the program around entirely.
That is why, as intense as practices like Tuesday go for Bryant, he cannot wait to play on Saturdays.
"That's our whole mindset this year," he said. "‘Remember last year. Remember the embarrassment."
"It's a big chip on our shoulder, and we just can't wait to get a different color across from us so we can show them how big that chip is."