April 5, 2008
On Day 4 of Spring Practice, the Cincinnati Bearcats football team had all of the shackles taken off and spent the first day of the spring in pads and with full contact.
The practice, which took place under blue skies for the first time, ended the day with a 50-play scrimmage. The statistical leaders were:
Dustin Grutza, 5-of-6 for 53 yards and a touchdown
Tony Pike, 6-of-7 for 54 yards and a touchdown
John Goebel, 15 carries for 61 yards
Jacob Ramsey, 5 carries for 39 yards
Marty Gilyard, 2 catches for 32 yards and 2 touchdowns
Charley Howard, 5 catches for 36 yards
Comments from the Coach: Head Coach Brian Kelly
On what the coaching staff wanted out of today's practice
There were really two things we wanted to evaluate today. No. 1 was to evaluate our ability to run the ball offensively north and south. No. 2 was playing a lot of new guys on the defensive side of the ball, especially the defensive line. Now, we have a great evaluation - a fifty-play scrimmage.
Our plan coming into today was to obviously evaluate our front four. There was no Terrill Byrd, no Adam Hoppel. Angelo Craig wasn't here. Anthony Hoke wasn't here. Haruki Nakamura wasn't here. So it was really important for us physically to get a good evaluation. I mean physically running the football and giving us a chance to evaluate that. We also really wanted to see our backs. We really made an emphasis of getting downhill and running north and south. I thought we got to be a little too much of a finesse team offensively last year running the ball.
On the players that impressed you during today's scrimmage
From my standpoint, what I like was you had a guy like Brad Jones who was coming up and hitting people. You have a guy like Connor Barwin who was making second effort plays which we know because of his athletic ability is going to do that. I got what I wanted out of the first day. We did some very good things with our quarterbacks and receivers. There were enough positives for me to walk away and go now, we can really go and teach next week.
On John Goebel's 15 carries for 61 yards in the scrimmage
We had to knock the rust off him with a year out. He needed to get some reps and get in there. Our plan was to come in here and run him a lot. We did and I think he feels a whole lot better going into the next week. He knows he has knocked the rust off and knows he can go ahead and get better.
On the quarterbacks
I thought Tony and Dustin had nice days. Those guys are under the gun. Their eligibility clock is ticking and they have to get it done. They both understand that and have been good about it. For Demetrius, this is all new to him and it's so hard when you put someone in there that is just learning. We are going to keep plugging him in the best we can. It is a very competitive battle.
On the end of the first week of practice
I am happy with the first week. We are injury free. That is very important for us and now we have a really good tool to evaluate our football players. As we move forward, we can start looking at getting the right 11 on the field.