The Cougars aren't the kind of team where players run until they puke as some sort of homage to the Junction Boys. Mike Leach doesn't kill his charges, he'd rather they run hard in the drills and hit the whirlpool. That's why the Cougars don't do two-a-days during fall practice, don't always use up their spring scrimmages and why today's practice was an hour shorter with the Cougars back in shorts and shells.
“Just that time of camp, you know, the consideration is do you want a practice that's fast and crisp, you're getting full speed or do you want one where they're trying to push through and going to drag at some point so we went with the fast one,” Leach said when asked about the abbreviated practice. “So it went good, and then back out tomorrow.”
More on today's shortened session after the jump.
With an hour less practice there wasn't as much to report today, but here are some highlights:
— Starting left tackle Joe Dahl was again wearing a yellow jersey, but was out of a walking boot today, so he looks to be closer to rejoining his unit.
— Tight end Nick Begg looked a little like Jimmy Graham during an underclassmen skeleton drill, running straight up the vertical seam from his split wide position and hauling in a pass between two smaller defenders, who looked like they'd have a heck of a time bringing him down in live action. Check out tomorrow's paper for more on Begg (also, comics, wildfires and Iraq, probably).
— Freshman safety Sulaiman Hameed had another good day, keeping explosive running back Gerard Wicks out of the end zone on a goal line play. Wicks bounced outside and seemed like his forward momentum and body weight would be enough to get him into the end zone, but Hameed stood him up and did a nice job pumping his legs to keep Wicks from falling forward.
— On the next play Charleston White made a very athletic interception of a Luke Falk pass, out jumping the larger Vince Mayle in the corner of the end zone to come down with the ball.
— The team session ended in a tie, putting Falk in a do-or-die situation to decide whether the offense or defense would do up-downs. Falk came through, finding Rickey Galvin on a short route, who walked into the end zone to give the offense a 23-20 victory.
After the period, Leach said, “(Team) was a good, competitive period. I thought it was a little eratic today. I mean it was contested. Everybody played hard, everybody worked real hard, fought hard. I thougth we did have some inconsistencies and we're a little tired out but the best thing is we've had good work.”
— Leach evaluated freshman quarterback Peyton Bender and praised the Florida-native's footwork, saying he could probably give “anyone on the team a run for their money at that.” He also said, “He's doing good and he's picked up the offense I guess quicker than expected because he was able to be productive, really the first day.”
— Xavier Cooper said the backup defensive linemen are playing well.
“They're young and they're getting their opportunity to showcase their talents. The deeper and deeper we go into camp they're going to show more and more as they get better at their technique.”