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On getting back on the field:
It's great. See the young guys out there, working on some fundamentals and getting back into football. It's been fantastic.
I talked with a football coach friend of mine about the first day of training camp, and he echoed one of the things Steve Addazio stresses here - it's great. Football training camp is probably the most fun a coach has because they've spent the last months planning and getting ready for the process of getting ready. After a few months off from real football drills, he can finally put the offseason behind him, stop worrying about all that other stuff, and get back to it with players under his watch.
What's especially exciting for a football coach is watching the young guys progress. There's something simple about practicing fundamentals - conditioning drills, making sure guys stayed in shape over the summer, training. It's full of hope and promise, and since it marks the first day of the season, it's the time when coaches really have the most life in their blood.
As an aside, one of my coworkers, 20 years after he last touched a football, still remembers his coach on the first day telling him, "Guys. Welcome back. Today you're going to run until I puke."
On how young the team is:
This will be the biggest changeover I think I've been around. It hit me this summer. All of a sudden, you have to rethink everything you're doing, how you handle everything. I'm really worried about the emotional end of some guys, where their heads are at. There are all kinds of things you're worried about. It's just really different, the magnitude of it, the numbers of young guys.
A couple of thoughts here:
1) Changing over a roster is never easy. Sure we can speculate on it and look back to the way things were last year, but the truth is, nobody has any idea how the season will play out. Coaches tell you one thing, and they might say something somewhere. Realistically, though, we have no clue how it's all going to play out. As much as I've prognosticated and read scouting reports, pored over old film and results/stats, I'm open to letting the first couple of games play out on the field, so we can accurately figure out what's going to happen from there.
2) I like Coach touching on the emotional aspect of it. He's dealing with a young team that's very raw. When you change over that many players and bring in so many young guys, it's hard. You're not dealing with 21 year old men at that point. You're dealing with 18 or 19 year old kids. Sure they're athletes, but they're still college kids. That means you're dealing with very fragile psyches and people who respond to different situations very differently. I don't necessarily look at this and think, "Okay we have a bunch of young, immature kids." I look at this and think that Daz is almost like the team's dad, and he's right now trying to raise a whole bunch of kids into men.
On Darius Wade and the quarterback situation:
Darius came out of the spring as the starter but they're all competing here right now. We're looking forward to watching it unwind here. Again, I just think that I equate practices like today and tomorrow like 7v7. No one is hitting anybody. It's pretty peaceful. Wednesday the shoulder pads go on and you start to get a little more feel from then on and from there you'll get a better idea.
Translation: Don't get too excited about seeing a guy throw or catch a pass in shorts.
Darius Wade is right now acting as the #1 QB, but we'll see what he's made of when the team slaps on shoulder pads. That doesn't mean there's a quarterback controversy, but like I said earlier, the first couple of days of practice are designed to knock the rust off and get the guys back on the field. Conditioning drills test their endurance, and fundamental drills determines who isn't a complete disaster.
The good stuff starts Wednesday.