Things got a little feisty during Wednesday’s practice at UC Irvine. As the Rams prepare for their matchup with the Broncos, emotions started to run high as fights broke out among the players. This caused head coach Jeff Fisher to stop practice and force his players to sit on the grass. Fisher explained the reason for halting practice after the scuffles.
“They got a little testy so we gave them a timeout…” Fisher said after practice. “Go sit in the corner, go to your room, take a little time out. So we cooled off and we got a lot done. You don’t like to see this happen. I’m not concerned about this carrying over to the games. It was a good learning experience for us, they’re competing, 1s against 1s, we had some good work. At this point, we move on. Start to game plan, start focusing for the Broncos”
The first scuffle broke out between linebacker Alec Olgetree and running back Benny Cunningham. The very next play running back Todd Gurley found himself in a fight with another one of his teammates. Keep in mind that Fisher told his coaching staff that he didn’t want Gurley to be tackled in practice. So Fisher wasn’t too happy with his star running back getting into a scuffle.
“It was his choice...” Fisher said “We all need to be smarter than that. But, that was his choice. It shows you what kind of competitor he is.”
Fights during training camp are nothing new. In fact it happens just about everywhere. Competitiveness will always bring out high emotions in players and sometimes coaches. Does that make it acceptable in practice?
“We talked about it.” Fisher said. “There’s no place for it. But, as I said it earlier, this was the last day we’re going to compete in pads against each other. Both sides had something to prove. We got them settled down.”
The Rams went through something that every team does. Fisher doesn’t tolerate it or want it to carry over to their game in Denver. He did the right thing by sitting the team down and letting them cool off before resuming practice to prepare for the Broncos. Sometimes it’s good to see some fight from the team, you just generally don’t want them to literally fight.
Matthew Lowry is a journalism major at Santa Monica College. You can follow him on Twitter @MattALowry