The one thing we've tried to do at this year's practice is allow a certain amount of time [at the end of practice] for the incoming freshman and the guys that redshirted a year ago. We feel that there are guys that show up during that period because they are a little at ease going against guys at the same age level, maybe the same ability right now. We really felt that the last part of practice was important to us to see who can come out and make plays.
Nick Toon's catch
We take a little bit of a condensed playbook version during that time – basically just call two plays for our defense with one man and one zone – and offensively, stick to basics. Basically, you make that catch or you don't and Nick made it.
Maximizes your reps during that point in practice
It does [help]. As long as I've been in it, you tell them you'll get them in the last three periods of practice and play as a team. They sit around, sit around and now they are in there and we try to get them 10-to-12 plays depending on the time. That just allows them to get in there and show us what they've got.
Young receivers catching on
I thought they all looked better and caught the ball better today. It's interesting because you have certain expectations on them – you watch film of them making plays and highlight films where they are catching everything under the sun. Then, that first day jitters get them going a little bit. They are all definitely more relaxed today.
In the grand scheme of things, with Coach Mason and Coach Chryst, they like certain abilities at certain positions in the wide receiver corps. You can definitely see how certain guys play into those roles. David [Gilreath] might be a little more of a slot guy – we used Brandon Williams in that role. Kyle Jefferson is more a high-end guy like Jonathan Orr was and use him on certain routes to clear underneath. Nick [Toon] is a ‘wait-and-see' kind of body and Daven [Jones] is a mixture of them all.
Kyle Jefferson's weight concern
He's been a lean kid ever since I've known him when he came here two years ago in camp. The thing is that he plays big. [The weight issue] kind of shows up when we aren't in pads or full gear, [but] I know this, the guy can run and catch.
Practicing at another location besides Camp Randall
We have some of the best facilities in the country. I know when we first came here we used to go up to the seminary. With the way NCAA rules are, you only get for one [practice a day] for these five days. We used to be able to jump right into two-a-days and you kind of wanted to get away. Now, we have to [alternate] between one and two-a-days. So the time constraints, if you're abiding by the rules, aren't that much. I would rather have them sleep in their own bed in their air conditioning and feel the comfort of home. Bottom line, when we are in season, we aren't in camp.
Where the players are living during camp
[The players] are in their dorms or their respective apartments or wherever they are living. Our incoming freshmen are in the dorms and guys that have transition issues – their lease is up – they might be in the Regent as well.
Who is going to be the fourth defensive tackle?
I don't think you can tell that now. I'm very happy so far. Yesterday, I thought Nick [Hayden] and Chapy [Jason Chapman] really showed some explosion. Newkirk was back in the mix for the first time in awhile. Those three guys; that was the best competition we had last spring. The fourth guy is going to be a guy that will emerge over the next two weeks.
He's a guy that [represents] what our program player is. He's a guy that's really developed his body, really bought into what we're trying to do on the football field and in the weight room. We all know what Travis can do and we all know that our opponents will know what Travis can do, but if you can get another guy in there with similar athleticism and couple him on sides with Travis, it gives us a unique advantage.
Improvement of Lance and P.J.
I think Lance and P.J., without pads, had a little more pizzazz. Lance has changed his body, maybe not as much as P.J. with the x number of pounds he's put off. I really like the way both of them are playing, putting their foot in the ground and driving down the field. Hopefully, that's going to continue.