Take a pursuit drill the defensive works on, for instance. Basically, you have blockers and a ball carrier spread out by about 10 yards on one side, and the defense works on getting to the ball on the other side. Coach Ball, standing behind the defense, points which way he wants the offense to take the play. The blockers get out in front of the running back, and try to prevent the defense from getting to the running back. For Brandon Rankin, getting to the ball wasn't enough. He had to physically destroy whomever it was carrying the ball. And Bernard Wolfgramm, he blew up one of the blockers en route to the ball. This is serious preparation, folks.
In another drill, the defensive backs were working on coverage (I know, I know; defensive backs are always working on coverage). It was basically a scout skelly situation, but when a guy made a play, the whole group would get psyched. It reached an entirely new level when Anthony Carpenter reached out and picked off a pass with one hand. Chima Nwachukwu also ignited the white jerseys with an interception in the end zone. Again, it's only a drill, but these guys are excited.
Freshman wide receiver Blair Bomber is already making a push for Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year honors. He made three amazing grabs today while working against the first-team defense, two of which went for touchdowns.
I was talking to a couple guys at practice - one of which was Mayor Glenn Johnson - and they asked me about the Cougar tight ends. We started talking about the group, and I said to expect a breakout season from Andrei Lintz. Not five minutes later, Lintz made a leaping catch over the top of a defender, and I looked like a genius. Thank you Andrei, for your impeccable timing.
As Coach Wulff reminded the team after practice, when they hit the practice field tomorrow, there are just 48 hours until kickoff. Expect the intensity level to ratchet up even more Thursday.
Here are Coach Wulff's thoughts from practice: