Commodores End on High Note
Thursday; New AstroPlay Surface Paying Dividends 8/15/02
Thursday morning with the
Commodores - After starting slowly, the Commodores finished
practice with an enthusiastic 11-on-11 session Thursday morning
at the John Rich Football Complex.
“We were sluggish out there at
the start, and didn’t have the energy the coaches were looking
for, but we were better good during the second half of practice,”
Coach Bobby Johnson said. “We need to work hard on every drill
to get better.”
The practice, which ended with
the players running conditioning sprints, followed the first
full-contact session of camp when the offensive and defensive
units faced off Wednesday afternoon. Johnson liked what he
saw with the team’s attention to detail in the tackling drills.
“Sometimes the guys forget their
techniques the first time you go to full-contact, but we did
a fairly good job of doing what we were coached to do . That
was good to see,” Johnson said.
The Commodores return to the
field at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, and have a pair of practices
scheduled Friday before a Saturday afternoon session. The
team will not practice Sunday.
AstroPlay surface paying off
The newly installed AstroPlay synthetic surface at Rich Football
Complex has paid huge dividends. The team went through its
regular practice schedule during both Wednesday sessions despite
heavy rains. A year ago, with only natural grass fields, the
squad probably would have postponed or cancelled both sessions.
The team practiced 90 minutes
Wednesday afternoon, including the last half hour in a downpour.
The coaches were able to complete all but one drill before
Johnson ended the practice. “We only missed a few minutes
of practice time scheduled,” the coach said.
Two walk-ons depart
Two walk-ons invited to camp, placekicker Tolga ErTugrul of
Bixby, Okla., and fullback Alan Bubbus of Russellville, Ark.
- left camp Wednesday.
Managers critical to practice
When the head coach looks to stay on schedule or a player
looses a mouthpiece, it’s time to work for Luke Wyatt’s staff
of seven equipment managers. Each practice, the managers perform
an array of responsibilities under the watchful eye of Wyatt,
a 19-year veteran of the football program, and top assistant
Chris Singleton. During two-a-days, the student managers -
Stacy Grams, Kavitta Baman, Joel Smith, Clint Finch, Paul
Allen England and former player Jason Tant - arrive at 4:00
a.m., arranging equipment and practice gear.
During practice, their duties
infensify, from trying to keep footballs dry in the rain to
replacing equipment and climbing through ivy to retrieve footballs.
The end of practice brings more roles for the managers who
face the task of gathering and cleaning all gear for the next
practice, and remove all equipment from the field. A few hours
later, they repeat the tasks for the next practice session.
While Wyatt oversees the equipment
department, Singleton serves as Coach Johnson’s time manager
at practice, blowing a horn at each five-minute interval and
telling the team which practice period is upcoming through