The Foresters completed their third practice of the non-traditional season on Sunday afternoon. During a brisk two-hour practice, the Foresters ramped up the intensity with some competitive drills that pitted the offense versus the defense.
Among the drills were a "team favorite" TUGS competition, as well as a series of 25 yard dash competitions.
"I believe the competitions are helping to galvanize both the offense and defense respectively. They have also shown some of the guys who have competed that they need to continue their work in the weight room to increase speed and strength," said offensive line coach Ted Soenksen.
"I felt that our guys have really taken to the competition side of things. Though we don't have pad on, where we can line up and go against each other, it doesn't mean that we can't find creative ways to go against each other. The TUGS are great because they show you, not only "IF" a guy will fight, but also "HOW LONG" will he fight for. We had some dominating performances on Sunday, but we had a couple of really good ones, where the guys had to go at it for over a minute. That is draining physically. When you have a 150lb container filled with water, it is a real guy check to see how long you'll fight, and see if you can force your opponent to drag your limp body as well as the TUG across the line," commented Coach Catanzaro.
LOOK FOR VIDEO CLIPS OF TUGS COMPETITION NEXT WEEK!!
Coaches from each side of the ball were asked to comment on some of their positional progress through practices thus far.
"We have a very good understanding of our concepts, run game and pass game. There have been very few mental mistakes or missed assignments. The QBs are showing a clear understanding of their progression and commanding the offense. Greg McDowell looks like a natural at WR and the young slots and TEs are stepping up," commented Coach Kerr.
Coach Soenksen in talking about the offensive line,"I have been very happy with the mental make-up of the offensive line. They pick up on everything we are teaching very quickly. Sal Perales and Tom Mitchell have stood out to me the most to this point. Sal because of his increased athleticism, and Tom with his ability to make all of the calls and to understand he is the quarterback of the OLine and all calls and decisions start and stop with him."
"I have been pleased with the development of the young players. Some of our freshman have really stood out through three practices. You can tell that the teaching they are receiving is a "refresher" and not brand new. The carry over of knowledge is significant as we get deeper into the offense and defense," commented Coach Catanzaro. "A couple of guys who really stood out were Nick Waters and Eddie Dobernig as they have both recorded multiple interceptions, and are showing a better understanding of all of our coverages. I echo what Coach Kerr has said about Greg McDowell. Anytime a guy catches four touchdowns during a 7 on 7 period, you have to take notice. I have been impressed with Mike Peters increased flexibility within our offense. I have seen him display a strong knowledge of the offense, as well as the ability to make some tough receptions as well."
Coach Brandon Parker on the secondary,"The Safeties definitely understand that the race is on! Their is a huge hole to fill there, and there are some interesting candidates for the position. They are pushing each other to improve but they realize it is a competition for that number one spot. Dominic Campagna and Mike Nelson have showed the confidence and experience pushing themselves ahead of the pack but aggressive youngster Alex Gracia has shown improvement as well, has he tries to close that gap." Broadening his comments to the whole secondary, Coach Parker continued,"The Defensive Backs group are young as a whole and it was obvious during last season. With a semester and winter off-season training under there belt have come leaps and bounds. The young DB's have gained strength and a swagger of confidence which allows them to relax and not over think on the field. With this new calm, the guys are able to run around and make plays, and it has only been 3 practices. I am thrilled about their improvement in this short period of time. I believe we are a team that has just become increasingly much more dangerous."