If you think YOU are happy that camp is over and game week approaches, think about how the players feel. This is the best week of the whole off season right here. Let me tell you why there will be a new attitude around the field today.
The players just went through a grueling offseason which saw them running the stairs, lifting their guts out, going through a tough, tough spring practice only to stay in Provo all summer and do it all over again! Then to top it off they’ve spent the last three weeks beating each other’s brains in as they face the same guy across the ball in every drill. Let me tell that you nothing gets older than hitting the same guy over and over and over again. Manase and I still joke about all the Lead Plays where he would lead up through the hole on me. After a couple years and a few thousand reps at it you know when it is coming, so Manase would give me a little smile, I’d give him a wink and at the snap we’d just run full steam at each other and see what happened.
Over the last few days Coach Mendenhall has met with all the Freshmen and bubble guys (guys who may or may not be in the two deep) to explain their roles to them for the season. For some guys it is that their opportunity to play will come on special teams, but that they can go through practice with their positions. For others it may be that they will not be factored into the plans this year (possibly red-shirting) and will be running the scout. There is even some middle ground, where players will be special teams starters, but still asked to run scout so that the team gets the best look they can at practice.
In any case, this week brings a breath of fresh air as the team comes back together and the O and D feuds subside and give way to that great camaraderie. The coaches roll out the play cards of OU’s offensive and defensive plays. The play book shrinks to the game plan for the week, and there is only one thing on the player’s minds…GAME TIME IN DALLAS!!!
The first practice of game prep for me was always the best practice of the year. For some reason there is a little more pep in your step, and stronger sense of urgency and the game of football begins to be fun once more! I know the boys in blue are happy campers this week!