|Falcons open spring drills with 'slow' practice (2-27-14)|
|Written by JACK CARLE Sentinel Sports Editor|
|Thursday, 27 February 2014 11:59|
Babers, the Falcons’ new head coach, likes to run an up-tempo offense, but the concept doesn’t really sink in until you actually experience it. CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO
‘‘Today we were all hurting, offensive linemen, wide receivers, running backs, defense, quarterbacks; we were all on our knees, tired,’’ said Matt Johnson, who started 13 games at quarterback last season. ‘‘We’re going to get better with it as we practice. We’ll get to a level where it’s not so dragging for us.
‘‘It’s something that is going to come in time. We understand that. We just have to push through it right now,’’ he added. ‘‘Right now we think we’re moving, but we’re not. When we do get moving, it’s going to feel great.’’
The practice, without pads, was held at Perry Field House. The session went from 6:30 a.m. until 7:40 before a five-minute water break. The practice then went until 8:20 before the final huddle with Babers, and there then was some work by positions until approximately 8:30.
‘‘It will take awhile. You have to get everyone on board. The train can’t go fast unless everybody is moving that way,’’ Babers said. ‘‘I thought they handled it well. They came ready to practice. They had a very good attitude. There was a lot of learning going on, a lot of listening which is always good.’’
Babers said the players are thinking about what they are doing, and the pace of the offense will pick up when the players react rather than have to take time to think about what to do.
‘‘You could tell a little bit towards the end of practice that we were starting to understand it. But we won’t fully understand it for a while,’’ Johnson said. CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO
‘‘The offense was trying to make substitutions, the defense was trying to make substitutions. Sometimes there were 30 guys on the field,’’ he added. ‘‘The coaches are just trying to teach us tempo, tempo, tempo. It doesn’t matter if the defense isn’t set, still snap the ball.’’
Johnson was among those who couldn’t wait to get on the field.
‘‘I can only take so much lifting without live work,’’ Johnson said. ‘‘Nothing matches being on the field, going against the defense. This is when we have our most fun when it’s us versus the defense, and we’re all talking smack back and forth with each other. It feels good to be out there again.’’
Babers was impressed with the conditioning for the Falcons who are coming off a 10-4 season, including a victory in the Mid-American Conference championship game and an appearance in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.
‘‘The strength department did a nice job,’’ Babers said. ‘‘They are relatively ready.’’
The Falcons have four more practices before spring break, and then the final 10 practices after spring break.
‘‘The third, fourth, and fifth weeks after spring break, I think we’ll settle in for a pace that will be acceptable for the coaches,’’ Babers said.
‘‘It’s like a Rolodex on your desk, you need to hit everything. Once you get everything in, you can keep practicing and practicing. It will take a while, but we’ll get it all in.’’
While the focus has been on the quick-tempo offense, the defense is also learning some new things.
Ryland Ward, the only returning starter in the secondary from the 2013 season, was pleased with the play of the defensive backs.
Working at cornerback are Will Watson, who has seen action in each of the last two years, and Darrell Hunter, who missed last year with an injury.
‘‘Overall we did a pretty good job with some people in new places,’’ Ward said.
Ward also said he expects big things from the new offense.
‘‘With the players that we have, it’s really going to cater to their capabilities and what they are able to do,’’ Ward said.
Among those not practicing were rover Gabe Martin, and wide receivers Jermal Hosley and Jared Cohen.
‘‘I’m not going to talk about the injured guys,’’ Babers said. ‘‘The injured guys need to get healthy as fast as they can ... so they can get out here and start playing.’’
|Last Updated on Friday, 28 February 2014 09:46|
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