(2:49 p.m.): The Bearcats set a new record this morning. They practiced 33 periods (five minutes a piece) at Nippert today, the longest ever workout in the Brian Kelly era. They started at 10 a.m. and finished at 1 p.m. That is not a short amount of time.
It was long and pretty warm. But, with the exception of a few players (senior receiver Mardy "With a `D'" Gilyard and sophomore running back Isaiah Pead were two I saw fighting through cramps), the Bearcats seemed pretty well-hydrated and well-conditioned.
The first thing Gilyard thought when he heard the team was going to practice for so long: "I thought I left all that behind."
While a three-hour practice is awfully unusual in BK's tenure (honestly, I can't remember the team ever going more than 24 periods), it was more the norm under Mark Dantonio. Which probably brought up less-than-pleasant memories for some of those who played under that coaching staff.
"We haven't had a practice this long since my redshirt freshman year," Carey said. "But we fought and we got through it pretty well."
In a way, BK designed the practice so long to see if his team could handle it. It wasn't so much to test the Bearcats' conditioning. It was more to check their mental abilities.
"Our work volume, relative to our ability to stay locked in at a high level, can now go past that two-hour window," BK said. "I'm not going to make a habit of doing it, but during this acclimatization period, we extended it. We didn't feel like conditioning was a (question) of this football team. They're well conditioned, so let's get a little more football in."
Before the practice, BK wasn't sure what to expect.
"I wasn't sure they could sustain the intensity level that they were able to sustain today," BK said. "We went into it knowing that their conditioning level was really good. But I didn't know if they could stay focused mentally."
Some other observations: the wide receivers looked good today, especially Marcus Barnett and Armon Binns.
"Even Mardy, he's further along than last year," BK said. "He's been way ahead of where he was last year. Same thing with Barnett. But it's not just this summer. It's that workload we've piled on them for three years. You can see that in the way they go play."
Seems like every time I looked around, Binns was making a nice catch. One in particular came from sophomore quarterback Zach Collaros.
The first-team offensive line I saw: Jeff Linkenback at LT, Jason Kelce at LG, Chris Jurek at C, Alex Hoffman at RG, and Sam Griffin at LT. The Griffin thing surprised me a little. ... In the two-minute drill, senior QB Tony Pike moved the ball quickly and efficiently. Sophomore Zach Collaros struggled a little more. ... Red shirt freshman Pat Lambert was kicking himself after dropping a surefire interception.