– Coach Stoops left today’s practice feeling fairly satisfied with the team saying, “this is the best we’ve looked.” The addition of shoulder pads today helped them feel more comfortable, despite still not reaching the tempo level that the coaches are looking for. Stoops seemed very excited about the day, finding it difficult to stand still while talking with us. He’s so excited that instead of having one practice after the Blue/White game, the Cats will strike while the iron is hot and have another practice tomorrow. “It’s nice weather. We aren’t going to install anything new tomorrow; we thought we’d go back and have a nice practice Saturday without any distractions and ‘clean up’ these first three days.”
– Za’Darius Smith and the Defensive Line received high praises from both Coach Stoops and defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot. Eliot said, “The defensive line is doing a really great job. They have some veteran players that are used to game action and have caught my eye.” Za’Darius has received a leg up on the rest of the team after working with coach Brumbaugh the last two seasons. Bud Dupree had nothing but great things to say about the guy that lines up opposite of him. “Z is a very physical guy. He knows a lot more than we do because he had already worked with Coach Brumbaugh at JUCO. He’s a ‘line-leader’ during drills, showing us the things that coach already taught him.”
– Bud Dupree is recovering from offseason wrist surgery after tearing ligaments in his left wrist. It’s not 100% yet, but should be fine by Spring season’s end and hasn’t affected his performance significantly so far.
– The simplicity of the offense also applies to the new defense. The unanimous difference between this year and last year amongst the players, is how simple it is compared to Nuclear Rick’s style. DT Mister Cobble said, “It’s not as complex as it used to be. Everyday we come out it may be different, but it’s not as tedious as before. It’s just something simple that you can go out there and do it.” Cobble also appreciates Coach Brumbaugh’s experience; after playing DLine at Auburn, Cobble knows that shared experience will benefit him more. “Nothing against [old DLine] Coach Turner, but he has a more detailed view of my position.”
– Stoops quote of the day: “I’m still hesitant to name a leader, the guys are still holding onto their butts.”
– If you have the madness for a different sport, follow me @RoushKSR. More coverage from throughout the week to come ‘on the morrow’.