Tracking Mack: March 5
March 5, 2011
Opening statement: We just finished our fifth workout. It was the end of our Coaches Clinic. It is our second full day in pads. We were in shoulder pads and shorts on Tuesday, and I thought this was by far our best work. We came indoors because of the winds, but at the same time, I'm starting to see some cohesiveness on both sides of the ball. They seem to be getting it, and they had a great time. They had a blast. So for two days in a row in pads and sitting here on a Saturday afternoon while everybody else is running around or going home, I love the intensity and the spirit.
On team unity: I was really impressed that the guys are learning to respect each other and our rules during practice. It was a very physical two days, and at the same time, guys kept their heads up. Not many guys were on the ground except for when we were supposed to be on the ground, and I thought it was a great workout.
On learning the new systems: Every player on both sides of the ball really has basically had the same system - our defense was three years with Coach [Will] Muschamp when he came in, our offense was under the system with Coach [Greg] Davis when he came in. So all the guys are getting new stuff. We've got Bruce Chambers and Major Applewhite on offense that were here. We've got Oscar Giles and Duane Akina that were here, and they've helped the incoming coaches try to incorporate some of the stuff we were already doing to help the guys. But everybody is having to focus. We're still not worried about depth chart, and everybody is really working hard.
On how the players can keep from getting too tired: The thing that is so good - today was a critical day - now they will have Saturday afternoon off. We've asked them to take care of themselves tonight, to make sure they eat right. They will have all day Sunday off, they will have Monday off, then come back and practice next Tuesday. So they have three full days off, and hopefully that'll get them prepared for Tuesday's practice.
On the Coaches Clinic: The Coaches Clinic was great. We were concerned in talking to a lot of our coaches - there are so many cuts in our state right now with education - that a lot of the coaches had to take a day off, an unpaid day off, yesterday or Thursday to come. A lot of the coaches had to pay their own way to come. Still, our numbers were great. We had 400 or 500 coaches here, and the ones that were here sure wanted to be here. So they got a lot out of it. And I did think that since we had so many new ideas, a lot of the coaches were excited to come and listen to that as well. The coaches love our clinic. It is a lot of the same guys each year. They just write it down - that is why we haven't moved it. We try to keep it on the same weekend. And each year, there is something special, and it is great to see them.
On the upcoming week of practices: Coach [Darrel] Royal and Coach Eddie Joseph were at practice today, and they were there last night for our fish-fry, along with Fred Akers, Coach Dabs - a lot of history in that room, [including] Bill Little. But now our guys should feel really good about where we are and understanding that there is still a lot of work to do. But it looks like the work that Jeff Madden and Bennie [Wylie] did coming into spring is good, because they are really working hard and they look like they are in outstanding shape for this time of year. And now what we have to do is have two more great practices before we take ten days off for spring break.