April 4, 2008
The University of Cincinnati football team donned its pads for the first time this spring during morning drills. Coach Kelly led the squad through two hours of practice under the lights of Nippert Stadium as the Bearcats completed their third practice of the spring.
Over 250 members of the Southwest Ohio Football Coaches Association (SWOFCA) were on hand to watch the team run through drills as part of a two-day clinic UC is hosting. The clinic wraps up tomorrow with a 2 p.m. practice and scrimmage.
Brian Kelly on:
What are you most pleased with through three days of practice?
"I am happy that our team knows how to practice. Sometimes you take for granted you are going to come out to practice and know what to do. Last year at this time, our kids didn't know how to practice. What I mean by that is, be competitive but we want to be in a position not to get anyone injured because we don't play any real games until August. It's important to balance competitive and fast with how to play the game."
On the play and effort of all-American cornerback Mike Mickens
"Here is a guy that is a preseason all-American and could easily go through the motions in spring ball, but he has really elevated his play. I think that says a lot about him and what his expectations are for our defense."
On the coaching staff's preparation for Spring Practice
"I like the fact that all of our coaches are really doing a great job of communicating positively to our players and demanding excellence.
On the biggest offseason improvements
"I think the offensive and defensive lines are leaner and more athletic. They can move their feet. Their work volume is improved, meaning how long they can go at a high level. They are now at a place where we can go through an entire practice and not have to worry about a guy fatiguing. Last year, we were going to period 14 or 15 and our guys would start to taper off. Now we can go through a full 24-period practice and our kids maintain a high work volume.
On getting into the second year of Spring Practice
"When you are installing the offense for the first time you are going to go a lot slower in your installation and what you put in. We have put in a lot of passing game concepts and running game protections. More than anyone would think as for being appropriate for spring ball. I have always done it that way. Year 2 for me has always been about really starting to look at the individuals, because we expect a level of competency within the systems we laid down last year. I think we have gotten that. We can now focus our attention on the individuals which obviously puts us ahead of last year.