After a disappointing first day with the pads on, head football coach Tommy Tuberville was extremely pleased with his teams efforts on day two. He felt the offense really stepped it up and found a rhythm early on.
"Much better day today. Much better, a lot of enthusiasm. Guys stepped up, and it was even hotter today than it was yesterday. We executed a lot better on the offensive side of the ball. They're starting to make a few plays, getting the timing down, and getting the rust off a little bit. We're still working a lot of young guys, and when you do that you're going to make a lot of mistakes. We've still got to look at everybody."
He was really excited about the defensive line, as well.
"Defensively, we've got a lot more energy on the defensive line. The guys are coaching each other up and playing hard, and competing against the offensive line. There's going to be some pretty good battles out here for the next week and a half on the offensive and defensive lines. That's going to be a big key to whether we're going to be any better or not."
The Red Raiders will add pants to their padded ensemble on Friday, but Coach Tuberville said there won't be a whole lot of contact.
"Tomorrow we'll put on full pads. Won't be a lot of contact though. My philosophy is that we don't hit (more than) two days in a row, and we've hit pretty good the last two days. We won't hit three days in a row. We'll kind of go through a lot of assignments and get everybody fresh for the scrimmage on Saturday afternoon."
The defensive line dominates
The offensive and defensive lines went through some very physical one-on-one battles on Thursday afternoon. Tubs felt that the defensive linemen dominated their offensive counterparts.
"I don't think there's any doubt. The defensive line won it. They had the offensive line all confused, jumping offsides. It's total concentration. When you lose your composure like the offensive line did, you can take advantage of them, and I think the defensive line showed a little bit more poise. That's what that drill is all about. Poise and technique. You don't want to get away from your technique and start brawling, especially if your an offensive lineman."
Speed showing up at receiver
If there's one thing you can accuse the Tech receiver corp. of being this year, it's fast. Guys like Jakeem Grant, Javares McRoy, and Javon Bell have been blazing a trail on the gridiron so far, and Coach Tuberville loves it. He feels the speedsters can really open things up on offense and special teams this fall.
"By God, we looked fast out there today. I would hope everyone would see how much quicker we look at that position. We're going to have a lot of options, knock on wood. We'll be able to do a lot of things with the offense, put guys in the backfield, running the wildcat. Our special teams are really going to improve because of the speed we've got at receiver. The last few years we haven't had receivers to put on special teams, but this year we're going to have the ability to do that."
He'd really like to run some tricky plays like motion sweeps, reverses, and the sort, too.
"I'd like to run seven to ten with that kind of quickness on our hands. We haven't had playmakers like this, and we've got to get it in their hands. You saw the little flare pass we threw today. We did it to throw the defense off guard. I remember being a defensive coordinator, and I hated that. I hated people that did things that weren't structured. They look like they're trying to trick you, and what they're doing is trying to make you think a little bit to open up gaps in the defense."
The thing to note about McRoy and Grant, according to Tubs, is that they're surprisingly physical.
"We've got to find ways to use the little guys so they can really run. They want to play, and they're physical. They aren't guys that shy away from contact. We'll be a little bit different in terms of what we can do with those speed guys."
Tuberville doesn't want anyone to sleep on JUCO newcomer Javon Bell, either.
"He's the fastest guy out here. He's just got to get some experience. He's going to be very good against man coverage. He's a guy that can stop on a dime and accelerate. To do that, it means you're going to be very good against man coverage. We see a lot of man coverage," he said. "He's just got to learn to play against zone. He's just going to need reps. I'm sure glad he's on our team."
Coaches impressed with Davis
Another receiver that has really been flying under the radar is inside receiver Jordan Davis. Davis, who transferred from Division II last fall, impressed this summer according to Tuberville.
"Jordan Davis is an amazing guy. I asked my son Tucker a few weeks ago, ya'll are out there throwing, what do you think? He said you're going to have a hard time keeping Jordan off the field. He's kind of a Wes Welker type guy. He runs routes, he's gained a lot of weight, and he's physical. The thing about it is, if the quarterbacks know you're going to catch it when you throw it, who are you going to throw it to? You've got to earn that reputation, especially as an inside receiver."
Inside receivers coach Sonny Cumbie has been impressed with the newcomer as well.
"Jordan had a great spring," he said. "He's a guy that had a great year at division two, transferred here, sat out, and he's done a really good job. I'm excited to see how it shakes out. He's really competitive, he's a tough kid, and he plays really hard. I'm excited to see him."
Cumbie loves the competition inside
Inside receivers coach Sonny Cumbie has a whole lot of weapons to choose from. They all come in different shapes and sizes, and the former Tech QB loves the tight nit group he's coaching.
"It's an exciting time to come out here every day. It's a fun practice. You've got a great group of guys that, not only from a skill level skill point, but also from camaraderie. Guys that are competitive and really love being out here. I was telling our guys that if you have one guy with energy, the whole group will follow, and that's what we've got. It's really fun coaching these guys. They're coachable, they're eager, and it helps when you've got a whole lot of players to choose from."
Like Tubs, Cumbie has been really impressed with Javares McRoy and Jakeem Grant. He thinks they can electrify a stadium on any play, and it's the coaching staff's job to get them in a position to do so.
"Those guys, anytime they touch the football, they have the chance to go the distance. They really do. You can do a lot of different things with them, move them around, but the challenge for us as coaches is just to put them in a position to be successful. They've got talent, and we've just got to put them in the right position, and I think we'll do that."