A couple of things about today, one of our objectives about practice is to always put pressure on ourselves and on each other and on the team and create chaotic situations and high intensity situations for the team. We had Def Leppard playing and some Deep Purple, some Led Zeppelin and some Hendrix. Trying to get them into a high intensity, chaotic environment so when we get to game day, we can handle the pressure. Part of that today was adding the officials. Some times as a coach, you say 'I'm going to get after them today and see how they react.' And so today I got after them a little bit and they handled it ok. You'll see that's why we go so fast, that's why today we had the music going, that's why we had the officials in, to add that pressure. So when we get to three weeks from today and we're playing Nevada on August 31st at 7'o clock, the environment is not surprising to us. So I think our guys are learning to handle it well. After four practices, you're going to see some good, you're going to see some bad but the key is you're going to see an upward trend in terms of being able to handle the stress, and the environment and the pressure we're putting on them. It's not going to always look perfect out there, but that's ok as long as we're making progress and today I thought we made progress. I saw some good things. You always get concerned after three or practices where the energy is going to go but the energy stayed high. And if we can continue to maintain this pace and work like we're working, we're going to keep getting better. We're going to keep getting better physically and handle the environment and the stress that we get into and it will make us a better football team. Sometimes it gets ugly out there but I think that is good and it's better in the long run.
On the Jack/Wysocki dustup:
The thing with Myles and Ben, it was a two-minute situation and last night Coach Yarbs gave an amazing presentation to these guys of team over self. And one of his examples was 'What is being selfish'? And that's throwing a punch. That's fighting. We're in a two-minute situation and an offensive player goes down and cheap-shots that costs us 15-yards. We're trying to win the game. They would both have been ejected from the game right there so we ejected them both from practice. I asked the officials if they were out, and he said they were out and they had to go to the locker room. They have to learn. Myles has to learn quickly. Ben should already know. I sent Courtney (Morgan) off with them because we don't ever need to carry it into the locker room. And I'm sure that it didn't. And they both probably realized when they reached the end of this path 'oh crap, what did I do.' All I know is it wasn't what we want in that situation. We have to learn that when we get in those pressure environments, I've got to be able to operate and not do something that is going to hurt the team. And that happened there today. It was a great learning experience. I'd rather it happen out here, show it to them, address it and move on, then have it happen in a game.
As everybody knows, one of our problems last year was penalties. We're going to involve the officials more during camp. They were out here today and did an excellent job for us. The issue today was defensive offside's and we had seven of them in our first 60 plays of team work and 11 on 11. That's not acceptable for us. It wasn't a big problem for us last year but it was a big problem for us today so we addressed it and talked about it. I had them explain what the neutral zone is in the words of the officials. Or what they're going to warn the offensive linemen with at the line of scrimmage. The offensive line is always going to try to gain an advantage to buy some time. So your normal reaction as a defensive player is to move up but you can't get into the neutral zone and you can't do that. Offensively was a clean, we just had the one penalty on Caleb on the first play of the 2-minute drill. But otherwise offensively, we didn't have a penalty the entire play. We have to work on correcting those. Those hurt us last year, especially at key times. We'd get in the red zone and have a false start or get a gain and get a false start or 3rd and 6, we'd have an encroachment and it would be 3rd and 1 so we're adding the music and adding the chaos and adding the pressure and I think we're going to be able to move through that stuff. So it was good.
On Thomas Duarte:
We kept Thomas (Duarte) out but he'll be back tonight. It was more of a cramp than anything. He should be able to go this afternoon.
On fans at practice:
The fans were awesome. It was great to have fans there. I walked down to set up the cones and there were a bunch of recognizable faces from Bruin Walk when you get off the bus and walk to the stadium. So it was great.
On tonight's practice in pads:
We'll be in full pads. That doesn't mean all-out physical assault, we still want to stay on our feet and healthy and I think we're doing a good job of that. We'll be in full pads tonight. We were just in shells today and last night you saw we were in those spider pads, which I actually like and the players like and it protects the A/C joint.
On other injuries:
They had to take Ian (Taubler) off. He got hit in the head. It bothered him. I'm not sure if they're calling it a concussion yet or if it is a concussion so e have to be careful with Ian because as you recall in the spring, he had an issue with that. Eddie (Vanderdoes) is making a lot of progress and I think he'll be out here this afternoon. Eric Kendricks is making a lot of progress. Really the only time you see him run is during the warm-ups and today he was moving around pretty good. All indicators are that he should be fine for the first game. Thiggy will practice this afternoon. When we go to 2-a-days, we'll only practice him once a day. We don't want to wear his knee out. So he'll practice with us once a day. He'll be in a red jersey, which is non contact, but he'll be able to get a little work. I thought Eldridge (Massington) made a lot of of progress at the end of yesterday's practice and again today. When you're a long tall guy like that and you're coming off a knee, it's not easy to lower your center of gravity and show that burst, but he's getting better at that. He's starting to get his feel and feel how he's feeling. Johnny (Johnson's), his shoulder popped out and popped right back in. They're going to evaluate him and see where he is. So we pulled him out. You saw he had that brace on, he's had some issues in the past with his shoulder and so we'll get the doctors to evaluate it. They didn't have to reset it, it was just a pop-pop. We'll get the doctors up here to look at it and see how he feels. I would doubt he'll be out here this evening.
On Priest Willis:
Priest is still a corner. I figured you would ask, that was a preemptive strike.
On the young linebackers:
I was hesitant and sitting here yesterday and said I wasn't going to talk about players anymore because I talked about Thomas and the next practice he cramps up. But Isaac ran with the 1s some and did really well. It was interesting because our older players came up to Coach Ulbrich and Coach Spanos and myself and said he fit right in with that group. It wasn't like they felt like there was a kid in there that didn't know what he was doing. The other guy who's doing really well is Cameron Judge. He stays low, he moves quick and he has a real high football IQ. I don't know how he'll fit this year on defense, but he's got a real good chance at special teams. Same with Jayon Brown. You know this now, I'm sure. He's been listed as a linebacker but we moved him to safety before we came to camp. And he looks like a guy that can do that. He's still learning how to move in space. When he gets back playing a half or a quarter, he's not used to doing that but when you get him moving forward in that nickel position, he's pretty good and he'll be a heck of a special team player.
On Malcolm Jones:
You know who's been really good in the four or five practices is Malcolm. We talked all spring about how he needed to lower his pad level, lower his pads and then run with a little bit more of an angry attitude. And i think we're seeing that. The key thing with Malcolm is to see that consistently and if he keeps doing that, that's a weapon I think we'll really like having. He's working hard and there is scholarships available. I don't want to reward anyone too quickly. We have to keep watching performance and attitude. But Malcolm seems to have set his jaw and seems very determined. And it's really great to see because he's a kid who has the ability and he's a great kid. Seeing him kind of figuring it out, kind of shows it you really is never really too late. I'm happy for him and want to see him continue to progress. I don't want to limit him to short yardage, goal line, I think if you have a 225-pound guy who can pound you, even in the middle of a game, out on first and second down, I like that. And the thing besides him running behind his pads better, he looks quicker, and he looks like he has more burst to the second level. So besides just getting down and a little angrier with his running style, there is a quickness I've never really noticed before. SO I hope he keeps going the way he's going, it's great. He had a tough year last year, but we welcomed him back, he's worked hard and has a great attitude and you just want these kids to have success. It would be neat if he could keep going. This is his last year. He appealed and he did not win the appeal. So this will be his last season. He'll be a senior. So lets make the best out of it and I hope he does great. For him and for us.
On Christian Morris:
He had a calf contusion but he's ok. You know, he's fighting through it. It's tough right now. He came from Tennessee. He's kind of an introvert at times. He's a great kid and a sensitive soul. It's just he has to adjust to this environment. This isn't high school. There are some guys here with an edge to them. It's going to be fine. They're great teammates and he has to meet them halfway and he's learning that. Different guys adjust at different speed. Its our job to help them.
On the red zone with Joe Fauria gone:
It will probably be spread out amongst everyone. I think Shaq can be a real threat down there. Devin doesn't have the size but he makes the acrobatic catches. I think Thomas Duarte can be a threat down there just for the simple fact that he can be a size mismatch. He's 223 pounds, and he has a large catch radius. If Brett gets it in there tight, he's going to catch it. Obviously we're not going to see the throws to the 6-7 Joe Fauria. You might see Anthony Barr out there catching it, you might see Cassius Marsh, they have the 6-3, 6-4 frame with the long arms.
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