– When Coach Stoops walked off the field yesterday, I was glad he wasn’t speaking with the media. His steps seemed to push the ground out of the way and his normal smile was nowhere to be found. Today he said he was glad he didn’t speak with the media yesterday, but he is happy that the team responded this morning with what DJ Eliot described as the “most enthusiastic” practice of Fall Camp. The wear and tear of camp will get the best of them at times, but today’s response revealed their fighting mentality.
The Cats are going to get punched this year. Their success will be determined by how well they punch back.
– When Eliot uses the word “enthusiasm” it can only mean that the defense did not shut the hell up. The defense has been EXTREMELY vocal in camp, getting the entire sideline to cheer on most plays during “team” period. Bud Dupree knows hot to push his unit’s buttons. When he starts the “Baaaaaaaaad Boyz” chant, they go absolutely nuts. Mark Stoops loves the energy, but isn’t quite ready to award them the Bad Boyz title, “We’ll see if they play like bad boys. I’ve been around some Bad Boyz, so we’ll see.”
– Another day of camp, another day where Blake Bone makes a big catch. Stoops said today that Bone had another “go up and get it” moment. Simply put, the young buck can do things that many can’t.
– JUCO linebacker Ryan Flannigan once again received praises from DJ Eliot and Mark Stoops. Eliot said that he isn’t quite game ready but, “close to where I need him to be” for games. Unless the Cats win at Death Valley, entering the season nothing would have surprised me more than seeing Flannigan on the field Week 1. There are so many hurdles for him to overcome: he didn’t get to have summer workouts, he never had a playbook in JUCO, and the most difficult position to learn on the field will be more difficult to learn when Stoops is running multiple defenses this season.
Despite all of the obstacles, Flannigan has continually been moving forward. I’m less surprised by the coaches statements after attending practice. Flanningan and the other young guys (Firios, Walker, Hendrix) stay close to each other at all times, teaching themselves when the coaches cannot. The extra effort is paying off, giving the Cats much needed depth at the inexperienced linebacker position.
– Safety Mike Edwards wasn’t expected to be here this fall. His situation seems complex, but luckily he has been able to get on campus and enroll for fall semester classes. Edwards will meet with Mark Stoops today, but it would be “unreasonable” to expect him on the field this year.