Derek Dooley and his coaching staff cut the proverbial cord Monday afternoon. It marked the first time that his players took calls from the sidelines.
Players will now have to sift through the chaos on the field with only the help of the teammates beside them. The first-time experience yielded mistakes throughout the day.
"It was the first time our coaches were off the field," said Dooley. "The players have to play, make the calls, make the checks – sometimes you practice so much you get reliant on hearing that voice. It showed up today."
With so many new faces being added to the squad the head coach said the most important component is problem-solving as a unit.
"We have so many new faces," said Dooley. "They have to go out there and learn to play and solve problems amongst themselves. That's the biggest thing is being out there and problem solving. Coaches can't do that for them."
With only weeks until kickoff it will be important for the newcomers to show up during scrimmages and during practice on a daily basis.
"They have to get out there, play and grow up," said Dooley.
Dooley and the staff implemented two-minute offense for the first time during Monday's workout and the drives weren't quite up to par.
"Today we installed two minute – two-minute offense and defense," he said. "Like most first days of two-minute it was four and done. We have a lot of work to do."
The team will have its first scrimmage on Tuesday, but it won't be full out. More than anything the day will be a measuring stick and a reference point.
"It's really not a full-blown scrimmage," said Dooley. "It's a little bit of a modified (scrimmage). I like to do this on about the seventh day. Just to break the monotony – just to get out there and play some ball.
"Let's go tackle and play a little bit. It's a good time to catch our breath and evaluate where we need to go in the next few days."
Battle at Center
"Cody has a good advantage because he has been here all spring and he is doing some good things," said Dooley. "We need a little more consistency."
Dooley doesn't seem to be asking for much, just make the routine plays, but for a new center that can be an issue.
"I think the big thing at center is avoid the bad plays," said Dooley. "It's a little bit like quarterback, let's avoid the snap firing over the head, let's avoid going the wrong way and the nose blowing up the back."
Volunteer fans may have been excited about the possibilities when former track athlete turned wide receiver Evander Wells joined the team for fall camp, but all that came to a screeching halt on Monday afternoon. Derek Dooley confirmed reports that Wells tore his ACL during Sunday's practice.
"It's too bad. He was only out here a few days and he was fast," said Dooley. "We might have had some fly sweeps and bubble screens – he could run."