Camp Talk: Day 2

Two days in the books for the Bobcats as they gear up for a shoulder-padded practice on Monday. Let’s see what some of the coaches and players had to say about it.

Head Coach Dennis Franchione:

“Day two was better than one. Good energy, good effort. I think the anxiety of the first day of practice is behind them, lots of installation on both sides of the football, pretty good retention by everybody. A lot to clean up though, still a lot of work to do. We’re anxious to get to Monday and actually get shoulder pads on for the first time.”

On the team’s conditioning compared to the first day:

“I think we made it through pretty well today. I didn’t notice anybody getting physically sick or cramps or anything like that. Nice when you can come into the stadium for a little shade at the end of the day.”

On Tim Gay playing on the defensive line:

“He’s excited about it. When I approached him about it, I wasn’t quite certain what he would say. He’s mentioned playing linebacker a few times, but I really think defensive end is better for him, from a learning curve stand point, from a pass rush standpoint and he’s a physical player. We need to get more plays out of Tim Gay. We need him on the field. I’m hoping we can get 60 to 75 snaps out of him, counting special teams. We will continue to play him in our big set on short yardage for offense. We need him to contribute more to this team, he’s too good a football player to not be out there more.”

On Damani Alexcee’s play the first couple of days:

“I expect a good year out of Damani. In the course of his development, he played last year and I think early in the year he was probably not as confident as you would want him to be. By October he started getting that way (more confident) and by November he was that way. He started to play more physical as the year wore on. Physicality usually comes from confidence, you tend to unleash it a little bit more. I expect him to take off where he left off and really have a good year, maybe a breakout year for him.”

On the leaders of the team:

“We elected a leadership council back in the spring, 11 guys. Of course, Tyler Jones and Adrian Bellard, Rusmin Nikocevic, a lot of those guys, and they are the leaders of the team. They relish that, I think. They understand what leaders need to do, when to speak up and they have all the right values for the team in the right area. They aren’t self-centered players; they are team players. I always think your team leaders carry your team further than you can carry them. Player driven teams are usually better than coach driven teams. I think we have become a lot more of a player driven than me having to do it.”

Wide Receiver Coach Jason Johnson:

On Kwamane Bowens:

“He has been a great, great student-athlete since coming in July. The players in the room and the players on the team have really embraced him and taken him under their wing. Not just him, all the new players because that’s the Bobcat way. No matter the JUCO or high school (they are from), it does not matter. They are part of the family. That’s all that matters. We are going to look after them and take care of them and the guys have made the transition for him pretty easy. Him, Justin (Gambell), all those guys have come in, worked hard to understand what we’re doing. Get in the mix, compete and, after two days, that’s exactly what they’ve done.”

On the type of receiver Bowens is:

“Well, I’ve only been working with for two days but, off his film, he is a guy that can be a vertical threat. We think he is a guy that can line up in many different; outside, motion, just about anything. He has that versatility. After two days, I really can’t say exactly what I think, but I know he is going to be a welcome addition to our core as a receiver group and our offense because of his versatility, based on what we’ve reviewed, studied and scouted on him. He has shown that so far, it’s just early in camp.”

On Demun Mercer standing out in camp:

“Demun has worked hard and it started in the class room. That’s where it started for him. His focus after the season was school. He knows the potential has as a student athlete. It’s blended over here to the workouts and he’s come out here and done extra catching, extra routes, those types of things, to help maximize his potential and it’s shown. We’re excited that he’s been able to have that improvement because he is a guy that we are going to need in our rotation; he’s another one of those that is a vertical threat that also has versatility. He can run motion stuff, he can run out of the backfield, he’s an ex-quarterback coming out of high school, so he’s a real weapon that we’re excited about.”/p> On Brandon Smith stepping up his determination:

“Well, this summer, he really has turned that switch. He’s another guy that has always had the potential when he came here from Alabama four years ago. It’s just about getting it and maximizing it for him. Not so much for us as coaches, but for him to realize it. This summer, I think he looked in the mirror and said to himself, ‘Hey, I have too much talent not to be maximizing doing what I’m doing.’ He’s taken care of business in every single way this summer.”

Junior Safety Damani Alexcee:

On the first two days of practice:

“I think it went pretty well. I think everybody came back with the right mindset; everybody came back in the right condition. I think today’s defense took a step forward as far as learning all the concepts and knowing where to fit and everything and I feel like we had a good practice. “

What it means to have another year of experience:

“I think it’s huge because college is a whole new level and our conference has as many athletes as any other conference has. Maybe not all the recognition it needs, but we have all the athletes anybody could have. I think me being out there allowed me to get more focused and know what I have to do for the next year to come.”

On the competition at safety:

“As far as the safeties, we’re pretty close. We’re always together, joking around in the meeting room. When it comes down to it, we understand that the best player is going to play so we got to come out here and compete. No hard feelings or anything. Everybody gets a little heated, not heated, but has a little competitive fire in them. After the play is over, we just shake hands and it’s all brotherly love after that.”

On the type of safety he is:

“I like to say I like to be in on every single play I can. If that means I can get there in time to hit them, I’m going to hit him. If that means I’m going to get there in time to get the ball, then I’ll get the ball.”

On the defense’s confidence in Coach Thompson’s scheme compared to last year:

“I feel it’s huge, leaps and bounds. Because everybody, I feel like, the way we left the last four weeks leading up to camp, he had us all understanding the concepts of who fits where so we had that down pretty pat. We know exactly who needs to be next to each other and how to compress the tackle and everything.”

Sophomore Wide Receiver Kwamane Bowens:

On choosing TXST after transferring to Butler CC from Hawaii after his freshman year:

“I just love it. As soon as I walked on campus, B.G. was my host, Brice Gunter. We just clicked and we were talking and I talked to more of the receivers and I was like, ‘this is the place to be,” because it’s building. We want to do something that has never been done before. If you’re not all in, then this isn’t the place you want to be and I love that. It’s a team that really wants to work and progress and not just stay where they’re at.”

On his role this year, whether he feels he will be a starter or a reserve:

“I have no comment on that, honestly, because all my receivers, all my brothers, we all working hard. At the end of the day, the roster is going to be what it’s going to be. We all have special things that we have and we all have our weaknesses. Game day is only going to tell it all, it’s not up to us, it’s up to the coaches.”

On the type of receiver he is:

“Right now, I’m really trying to find that out. I’ve gained a little weight, I weighed in today at 203(lbs). I’m just trying to see if I still got my speed and if I still got everything that I need to have. As a receiver, I love to use my speed. I love to run those verts (vertical routes), but I’m still working on my comeback routes, my curl routes and stuff like that, to be more of a guy who can catch it then make something happen.”

On which players have helped him since coming to San Marcos in July:

Jafus Gaines and I’m sitting behind Demun (Mercer) in class. It’s been nice to learn it from them because they play my position. They have been a really big help.”

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