Saturday, October 26, 2013

Remembering Don James

We will be honoring the memory of Don James today by wearing a gold sticker with the letters "DJ" in blue.

As one of Kent State's fans wrote on a message board earlier this week, "Don James was a giant. He brought winning to Kent and never forgot us."

We will never forget coach James and the impact he had during his time here.

Earlier this week, we posted a vintage 1972 highlight film of the "James Gang's" victory over Toledo to clinch the MAC title.

We hope you enjoy it:

Also, the voice of the Golden Flashes, Ty Linder, re-posted an interview he had with coach from James last year in anticipation of the 1972 team's reunion.

He can find Ty's blog entry by clicking here,

... and go directly to the audio file of the interview with coach James by clicking here.

If you haven't had a chance to watch, there is a moving interview with Kent State alum Gary Pinkel on YouTube with him remembering coach james.

Here is the link to "Gary Pinkel shares leadership lessons from mentor Don James"

From the Kent State Centennial Collection

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Preparing the next man in

By Brian Rock
Offensive Coordinator

When you are preparing for a week like this, you don't want to create an atmosphere where anything feels different. It's next man in.

You go through the process of preparing like you normally do. You let the next man in know that he should carry all of the confidence and swagger into this week and this game as anyone else. They have worked long and hard to get an opportunity to get on the field, so let's go do it.

For the people who haven't seen David Fisher, he is a guy who will bring great energy to the quarterback position. He is a mobile guy. David will operate our offense very well. He is not afraid to run with the football, but he is also a durable guy who can throw it. 

David is also a very vocal leader who will bring energy and enthusiasm to our to our huddle. He will also bring attention to detail.

I have tried to make it so that he can just go and play. He has won some games in his career, and I know he's excited to have the chance to get in there and help this team win.

Our gameplan isn't going to change much going from Colin Reardon to David Fisher.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Getting better in the film room

By Paul Haynes
Head Coach

I love the heartbeat of this team. I can see it when I walk into the film room and see our guys in there studying and working on their own to get better, and often late into the night.

When we study film as a team, our coaches have done a good job of giving the players questions to answer. Over the years I've seen a lot of players who will go sit in that film room for two hours, and when they leave you ask them what they learned. They'll really have no idea. 

You have to ask them questions to make sure they'll get something out of it. I told Darius Polk, who plays our boundary corner, to chart every single pass play that the boundary receiver ran. Now he has an understanding of where he lines up, and based on what formation he'll have an idea of what route his receiver will run.

We will tell our linebackers and our safeties to come in and watch the end zone film, and when they do, study the tight end and the tackle because that's who they read. See what they do on pass and See what they do in run.

We also do a neat thing on defense every Friday. The players will give a presentation on every position. So, the corners will get up and give a scouting report to the entire defense on the receivers we'll face on Saturday. Then the defensive line will get up and give a scouting report on the opposing offensive line, safeties will do the tight end and quarterback, and so on, and so on. It makes everyone understand that they are going to have to study during the week because they'll have to present to the entire defense on Friday.

The presentations also help players understand how their responsibilities fit within the entire defensive scheme and how what they do impacts the guy next to them. By studying film, players learn their keys. And those keys don't lie.

I'll never forget something I learned from Jim Tressel about studying film. He asked me, "do the players truly understand the importance of making zero missed assignments."

That's the key, and it falls back on film study. If you don't miss assignments, then the opponent has to earn it. A good player has to go out and make a good play to beat you, and that's OK. But a missed assignment against a good football team is inexcusable. You have to have a burning desire that it will not happen, because when you do miss an assignment, you let your teammates down.

Knowing your assignments starts with your work in the film room. We harp on these guys that it is not unrealistic to have zero missed assignments.

I found that understanding the importance of being good at watching film came to me later on as a coach. I have to admit, I didn't have it when I was a player. I kind of just played. If you talked to my position coach, he would probably say that I had good instincts. But I didn't study. It's all hindsight. If I could go back and study the way I should have, I would have been a much better player.

Studying film has changed so much between now and back when I played in the 1980's. There's obviously so much technology that allows us as coaches to break things down and watch so many different views in so many different ways.

During my freshman year at Kent State we still used reel-to-reel film. Then we moved to VHS when I was a sophomore in 1988, but we still only had sideline views. There were none of the cut-ups we have now.

We've even just added the technology that will allow our players to log on to their computer and watch all of the film from all of the available angles right from home at any time they want.

What some players don't yet realize is that they can have a career in football just because of the way they study and care about knowing their assignments. 

There are two guys I have been around who were unbelievable at film study. One of them is Donovan Darius, who played at Syracuse and was with me when I was with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The other was Donte Whitner when I was at Ohio State. Those guys would come in on Tuesday and they would already have five or six pages of notes, and they would already have an idea of what the opponent would do on 1st-and-10 or in different formations. 

It was unbelievable to watch them and how they studied. And the great thing was that the younger guys saw them and what they were doing, and the culture was built. Now we are trying to build that culture at Kent State that preparation pays off. There are so many guys who were great players in high school who just played on instinct. But we have to help them to understand that it is incredibly important to study film and know your assignments. We have to break them of their bad habits.

You only get so many reps at practice. You get 20 hours a week with players. There is so much riding on 20 hours a week, so there are a lot of things they have to do on their own to be successful.

You wonder why good players don't last very long in the game. I guarantee it's because they don't prepare like others.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Building a homecoming tradition with the Captain's Breakfast

By Paul Haynes
Head coach

We will be welcoming back almost 30 former Kent State captains for our annual Captain's Breakfast on Saturday morning before our Homecoming game with Northern Illinois.

The list includes Richard Mostardi (1959), George Jenkins (1962), Jerry Bals (1963), Pat Gucciardo (1965), Ron Swartz (1966-67), Frank Dreier (1970), Arthur Gissendaner (1974), Art Daniels (1976), Mike Whalen (1977), Darryl Hoyett (1977), Mike McKibben (1977-78), Ben Batton (1979), Moe Clemmons (1980-81), Charlie Grandjean (1981), Jerry Grisko (1982), Darren Brown (1982), Scooter McGruder (1983), Louis Jefferson (1985), Mike Percher (1986), Ray Carroscia (1989), Brian Dusho (1993), Lance Hansen (1996), Bob Hallen (1997), Jose Davis (1998-99), Brian Hallett (2001), Fritz Jacques (2007), Spencer Keith (2010), Chris Anzevino (2011) and Luke Batton (2012).

The tradition we are trying to build with the Captain's Breakfast means a lot because it brings back guys who are leaders from our past.

Our team read a book this summer called the Traveler's Gift that talked about the importance of seeking wisdom. Any time you can get some insight like we will get on Saturday from guys who have been here, who know this place and still have a lot of passion for it, that is extremely valuable.

We also want our guys to really understand the history of Kent State and to hear it from the people who lived it. Too often I listen to people talk about the negative things that have happened in the history of Kent State football. It upsets me to hear to them talk about how bad football was here because it devalues the work and the passion of a lot of people. 

There are a lot of good coaches and players who came through here who don't get brought up in the conversation about Kent State football just because of some of the records of our past teams. A lot of guys came through here and played in the NFL or went on to success in other areas. 

Having so many captains come back shows the pride they still have for Kent State. We have just about every era coming, from the 50's through the 2000's. Those captains will sit amongst our guys and tell stories, and that's what I want. We've had Pat Gucciardo talk in front of our team, and he almost comes to tears because he has so much passion for this place.  

Our young people are not yet in touch with that past the way they need to be.

The Captains' Breakfast is something we did at Ohio State, and Darrell Hazell brought it here to Kent State. I'm glad he did, and it was important to me to keep that tradition alive. 

The most impressive memory I have about those Captains' Breakfasts at Ohio State was that Gary Moeller came back every year. Gary Moeller is Michigan through and through, having coached there as both an assistant and a head coach for almost three decades. But before that he was a student and a captain at Ohio State in the early 1960's. 

Gary Moeller may bleed Michigan blue, but he was a captain at Ohio State and that is a part of his life that will always be there. It brings him back to Columbus every year.

I want our guys to have that same feeling for Kent State.

To me, being voted a captain by your piers is a big deal. It's not a popularity contest.

I missed an opportunity here at Kent State back when I was named captain. I didn't realize how important that honor was until after I left Kent. I think about it every time I see our record from those years. Sometimes you are named captain and you don't know what to do with it. Other guys take it too far and they want to make speeches every five minutes. To me, that's not what being a captain is about. The best captains are the guys who lead by example and then say something when it needs to be said.

When you look at our current captains like Dri Archer and Roosevelt Nix, they are guys who lead with their actions. They don't talk. It's not in their nature. Phil Huff is the same way. Pat McShane is that way, too. 

There really aren't any talkers in this crew this year, and that's fine. I never liked guys who want to stand up and talk. I never liked player meetings or anything like that, because then guys go out and practice hard for one or two days and then slide back to normal. 

If you want to be successful, you have to change your lifestyle. If your lifestyle isn't changing, then you aren't going to be successful. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Polecat Offense

By Brian Rock
Offensive Coordinator

We've had some fun running what some fans have been calling the "Swinging Gate." We call it the "Polecat."

Unique formations are part of our offense. We want to show opponents something they haven't prepared for, and we always want to try to keep a defense off balance.

The Polecat originally came from a guy named Tiger Ellison, who invented the Run and Shoot Offense back in the 1920's or 30's. As a gift, an old friend of mine gave me the original book on the offense. A portion of the offense was called the Pole Cat, and he had five or six plays off of this formation.

We didn't just go through a bunch of old books and decide to give this formation a try. We've had it in for a while. We've talked about it all season, and we just felt last week was the right week to use it.

The formation forces defenses to decide how to line up, and it is all based on numbers. That makes it an easy read for the quarterback. There are usually only a few ways defenses line up against it, and the quarterback in the formation can usually figure it out, and then it's up to him to either throw it or run it.

Teams have to practice for it.

Looking ahead to Saturday's game, the Northern Illinois defense has great team speed, the players are very athletic, and they are very well coached. They are good. There is a reason why they are undefeated right now. That's because they play hard and they play sound gap-control defense. They will get after you. They are not a sit-back-and-wait defense. They are a take-the-game-to-you defense.

The thing that really jumps out to me watching Northern Illinois' defense on tape is their team speed and how athletic they are.

Their defense in 2013 is very similar to the defense we prepared for last season when we played them in the Mid-American Conference Championship game. The defensive coordinator was on the staff, so it's not going to be drastically different.

They do play a little bit more "Wide-Nine" technique out of their 4-3 whereas last year they were more over-and-under based. They've gone back to a little more of a true 4-3 defense, and that's something a little bit different. Their coverages are the same base coverages they played last year.

Saturday is going to be a great test.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Improvement on defense, and a look ahead to Western Michigan

By Brian George
Defensive Coordinator

At the start of the year, we realized we had some good players coming back from last year's defense, but we also had a number of guys to replace. With that, our focus since the beginning of the season has been to get better from week to week. As coaches we have needed to do a great job of teaching and helping our young players get through the learning part of playing defense.

Last week at Penn State there were some real signs of improvement, particularly in the back half of the defense. That was an important progression for us to continue to take steps forward with that group. We need to keep getting better up front, and that's going to be even more important now that we have a few of those guys up front who are a little banged up.

With those injuries up front, there will be a greater sense of urgency on everyone from the linebacking corps to the corners and safeties to take on a little bit more of the load in terms of making plays and understanding where they need to be.

We are spending a lot of extra time working with some of our more inexperienced players to help them get ready for that extra work load. And the players who are filling in for the guys who are injured up front, we've been telling them all along that they never know when their time is going to come. They need to prepare every week like they are going to be the starter. Over the course of the last couple of weeks, we have several players who haven't played a ton in the past who have had to step in to bigger roles. I think the guys who have been asked to do that have done a very respectable job.

All of this has forced some players to learn, and that's good. We have a lot of guys who don't have that experience of seeing things over and over again. Now they are getting that opportunity, and it's going to make us better in the long run.

Even in practice, there were a lot of times last year when we had so many experienced seniors at key positions that we only had to show them something once. That's where we have to be different this year as coaches. Now we have to show our younger guys something over and over, and we have to do it in a way that is going to get them to the game fresh and ready to play. We spend a lot more time walking through things and talking through things. I think that will pay off. One of the results we saw last week was that we played a little better. We aren't where we need to be, but we are taking steps in the right direction.

This is a week at Western Michigan when we need to keep taking more steps in the right direction. It's our fifth game, and it will be against an opponent where we should be evenly matched. This game will give us a real good look at where we really are as a defense right now. 

When I look at Western Michigan, I see a very talented core group of players who are learning a new system. They are in the same boat we are in to a certain degree, in that they opened their season with three Big Ten opponents and an FCS school with some pretty good players. They had similar results to what we had against the BCS teams, and they played a close game with an FCS school where they were on the losing end of a close game and we were able to pull a win out at the end.

Games like this always come down to a couple of key things. No. 1, we have to stop the run. No. 2, we have to prevent big plays. They are going to take their shots down the field. They have a couple of fast guys at wide receiver, so they will take their shots and throw it up to those guys. They are going to test us vertically, so we have to be good in those situations. 

We have to have great eyes in the back end and we have to be able to create pressure with the guys we bring. Whether it is a three, four, five or six-man pressure, we have to get pressure on their quarterback, get the ball out of his hands and throw off their timing. In coverage, we have to do a great job with our eyes and feet to be in position to make plays.

This will be a good test for us. I know our players are excited to get back into conference play and see where we are in terms of taking another step forward.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

On playing in front of 92,000

By Paul Haynes

Head Coach

On Saturday we go to Baton Rouge to play at LSU.

Games like these are different for players and coaches. I was asked recently about how we are preparing players like freshman quarterback Colin Reardon to play in front of 92,542 fans at Tiger Stadium, and honestly I don't know how much that is going to bother him.

Once the ball is kicked off, I think players like Colin block all of that stuff out. You never know until you get there and see how guys react to it.

Personally, I get more into these games. I get more into it, both as a player and as a coach. I haven't changed. I wear my emotions on my sleeve when I get out there, and I take it personally. The louder it gets and the rowdier the fans get, the more I got focused and the more I was inspired to do good things.

My first game like this was as a freshman when we played Craig "Ironhead" Heyward at Pitt Stadium in November. It was the last game of the season on that old turf. It was a great atmosphere.

I was about 160 pounds soaking wet, and Ironhead was about 250 or 260. I hit him. I don't know how much damage I did, but I hit him. 

The awesome thing about that was later in life I ended up recruiting his son Cam to Ohio State. 

I try not to get too hyped up, even though I know a game like this is a crazy environment. The reality is that you are talking about a lot more people, but it doesn't really impact what goes on between the lines. The louder they get, the more we have to be focused. If that's the case, then you want them to get louder because we'll concentrate and focus even more.

We have tried to simulate the noise with some speakers at practice this week. You can do that, but you can't simulate the atmosphere. Until you see 92,000 in the stands with pom-poms and going crazy, you can't know what that is like. The only way to simulate that is to go out and hire 92,000 actors to come in here to Dix Stadium. 

This is part of the fun of playing college football. This is why you play the game.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Looking back at last night's season opener, and a thank you to the fans

By Paul Haynes
Head Coach

After last night's win, I didn't immediately come back and start watching film because I had a house full of people who were in town for the game.

But I was still racing through my mind with things that we have to do to get better, analyzing everything. That's what we all do as coaches. It's always thinking about how can we get better.

I was back in the office at about 7:30 a.m. today and started watching the tape.

The crazy thing is that games are never as bad as you think or as good as you think when you sit down and watch the film. The biggest thing for me about last night was the 12 penalties. You can't have that. You are not going to win too many games with 12 penalties. Those are the things we have to eliminate.

The penalties come down to a fundamental and a technique here and there. They come down to discipline. We have to become a more disciplined football team.

It's not about effort. It's not a lack of effort. It's a lack of doing right. We have to right.

There were also a lot of things I liked. Up front on defense, I thought we played well. I expected that from those guys, and they met those expectations.

You look at the first drive of the game. With a lot of new guys out there for the first time, we put together a pretty good scoring drive. That was a positive. 

There is some stuff that we can build on, but there is more stuff that we have to improve. That's not necessarily bad. Sometimes it isn't a good thing when you come out of a game feeling too good about yourself.

I'm not too worried, except for the penalties. Those are the things you can't have.

What we need to continue to have is the support from the fans like we had last night. That crowd was awesome, and the students in particular were loud and into the game. 

I sent out a tweet today thanking the students for their support. To have a record student crowd of 7,000 last night was very exciting. And we need them to keep coming back. 

We need them more than ever next week when we play Bowling Green because we are going to be gone for three straight weeks after that.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Brian George on the defense, the linebacker spot, and the return to health of Roosevelt Nix

By Brian George
Defensive Coordinator

The biggest positive from camp is that we have had a concerted effort as a group to improve and to learn every day that we have been out here.

When you do that, you have a chance. That's the biggest positive.

On the negative side, we still have a little way to go in a lot of different areas. After figuring out who are best 11 are, we now have to develop some guys and have them get themselves ready to be able to play in football games this fall. There is still a lot of development ahead as we get ready for the season.

We've had a lot of guys improve. I don't want to get into names right now, but there are a lot of players who have made tremendous strides since last year. There are also a lot of guys who need to keep going. In camp, we kept telling guys that they need to always be thinking 'I have to keep driving to get better.' They are getting better at that.

The linebacker spot is getting better every day. We want that group to compete and compete, and keep competing. They competed in camp. We want them to keep competing right up through the first game on Aug. 29. And after that game, we will reevaluate and they'll continue to compete.

We believe we have five linebackers who are truly competing to play. That's a good thing. There aren't a lot of them who have a great deal of experience. We'll see from week to week who those guys are. I don't know that it will ever be just the starting two. 

Getting Roosevelt Nix back healthy is a very good thing. I also think now that he is healthy, having a healthy attitude to work is going to make him and all of us better every day. He said it the other day. It has to start with me. He said, "once I am able to do what I'm capable of doing every day in practice on a daily basis, then that can be contagious." We are seeing that happen. You can't have the type of attitude he has been showing if you are not healthy.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The wait for the first depth chart

By Paul Haynes
Head Coach

We have our first depth chart. I know some of our guys have been wondering and worrying about where they stand since Saturday's scrimmage.

That's hard, and sometimes as a player you don't understand when that depth chart comes out.

It wasn't easy for me when I was in college here at Kent State.

I remember after starting my entire freshman year, I came in as a sophomore with a new coach, and all of a sudden I found myself on the second team.

Of course, I called my parents. I started to complain to my dad and he hung up on me. He told me to work harder, and he hung up the phone. Well, I didn't have any other options, so that's what I did. I went back to work. 

That's what our players today need to understand. Unfortunately, we live in a "now" society. Everybody wants everything now. A lot of people don't understand the meaning of hard work. They don't understand that there is a process and they just want everybody to give them what they want now.

We want our players to understand that we don't set the depth chart. They do.

We analyze every little thing to set the depth chart. It's not just a guy making a play here and a play there, and then doing 10 other things wrong.

We had all of the coaches meet with the players last night just to tell them where they are with regard to this first depth chart. But that status only applies to Monday, Aug. 19. We still have a long way to go until we play, so if they want to change it, show us. The depth chart isn't set until Thursday Aug. 29.

I also tell all of our guys not to say anything about playing offense or defense unless they are on the special units. They need to understand that first and foremost.

Sweating things like this is nerve racking, but it's part of the job. It's a part of their position. It's part of what they signed up for when they decided to play college football.

Friday, August 16, 2013

By Paul Haynes
Head Coach

I am looking forward to Saturday's scrimmage.

Really, the depth is going to be set afterwards, and our guys have to understand we don't set it. They set it.

There will be a lot of decisions made after the scrimmage, and that means guys have to perform. Every day is gameday out here, but that will be even more the case on Saturday. It will be full go with tackling.

It's going to be fun. It's going to be exciting, and we'll see who really shines.

We'll do a lot of situations during the scrimmage. We'll play good vs. good. Ones vs. ones. Twos vs. twos. Threes vs. threes.

We are finding a lot depth. We are starting to get comfortable at every position, and we are actually starting to create more depth. This week and Saturday will solidify spots for guys, so we'll sit down on Saturday and tell them where they are. Then we will move on from there.

We are also finding that a lot of freshman are going to play for us this season. Everyone always asks who you think can play out of the new guys, but you never know until they get here. Now we are starting to know. Some of them could be special teams players for us. Some of them could be playing or even starting.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Running the football with pride

By Brian Rock
Offensive Coordinator

Our guys are taking pride in running the football.

At this point of camp, we are certainly not a finished product. We do have a long way to go. But the message that we are sending that it is important to be able to run the football is getting through to our guys. They are taking pride in that, and I mean from offensive linemen to tight ends, to running backs, to quarterbacks, to blocking on the outside with our wide receivers.

We are starting to understand the message across the board. I like that.

There are some things we need to shore up, however, in the passing game. I think that reps and experience wills tart to help that.

We are relatively inexperienced on the offensive line. Everywhere else, with the exception of quarterback, we have some experience. And because of that, we have some things we have to shore up in terms of overall efficiency. Really what it comes down to is that we are pretty sure we are going to be able to run the football. Our guys have to develop that same confidence and that same attitude that when we need to throw it, we will do it with a high percentage of efficiency.

To me, that efficiency is more of a confidence issue of this is what we are going to do, now let's go do it.

Last year we were pretty confident that we had seven or eight players on the offensive line who were ready if called upon on game day. We are not there yet, but we are getting there. I think by the time game one rolls around we will have at least seven and maybe eight.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Taking a swing at "the Rock"

EDITOR's NOTE: As this blog post is being published, a select group of Kent State players are taking swings with a sledge hammer at a giant rock between Dix Stadium and the Field House. It's just one of the motivational tools employed by strength and conditioning coach Antoine Sharp. We asked him to come on the blog and write about the Rock and what it represents. After hammering away all summer long, Sharp said he hoped today would be the day the Rock finally breaks in half.

Strength and Conditioning Coach

The theory behind the rock is that it represents the Mid-American Conference. Throughout  the summer, at the end of each week I would choose guys who gave the best effort, whether it be in conditioning or in weightlifting, and I would give them a chance to take a swing at the MAC with a sledge hammer. 

We want them to learn that it takes that kind of intensity to win the MAC. We always need to try to find ways to keep things fresh for these guys. We have to find different motivation because we ask so much from them.

You could tell it meant something to the guys. Those who didn't get a chance to take a swing at the MAC, their work ethic improved. They've raised the bar every day, and this is  

The rock is new. It was not out there next to Dix Stadium before this year. One of my guys found a place that had huge landscaping rocks, and they brought it here.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

First day in pads

Today was our first practice in full pads.

I saw some of the same things that I saw in the first few days of practice. Our energy is good at the beginning of practices, but we still have to have to learn how to finish. And then, the first time we go live, we stop paying attention to detail and lose all fundamentals and technique.

Right now we are not a very fundamentally sound football team. Fundamentals are the things that will win or lose a championship for us. We have a long way to go before our guys understand what it takes to win championships and not just get through practice.

I'll know they are starting to understand when go through these same periods in practice and our guys are not putting the ball on the ground, when they are not missing tackles. I know a lot of guys are still trying to learn the system. But we'll make the system as simple as possible if we can get guys playing with great fundamentals.

I know our fans are wondering about the offensive line and the linebackers because we had some holes to fill there. So far I think the offensive line is doing well. We are preaching toughness. They are getting there. We are working to develop depth there.

With the linebacker position, we have three older guys back and that group is looking better. We have to develop depth, though, to determine which five or six guys will travel. 

We have brought in some help from junior college. Jim Katusha is doing a good job on the offensive line, and Jake Houts is giving us some depth at linebacker. But those guys are swimming a little bit right now. They are like freshmen with the system. They'll learn it, though. What I'm worried about with them and with everyone else is learning the fundamentals.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Paul Haynes and Brian Rock on the first day of camp

By Paul Haynes
Head Coach

We just finished our first practice of camp. I thought it was a good day.

I liked our tempo and I thought we saw a lot of good things for the first day. There were still a lot kinks that we'll get ironed out. But we came out here with a lot of energy. That's what we look for as coaches. Our guys were excited to get back out here and they will continue to get better every day.

These first couple of days are all about putting in the system. We'll put in our concepts and continue to talk to them about the type of tempo we want.

After these first three or four days we will start to get into situations.

I'll be back on here regularly to update our work in camp. We'll also have some of our coaches and players on to write, so check back regularly.

By Brian Rock
Offensive Coordinator

We had a lot of guys who were obviously very excited to be out here on the first day of practice.

It wasn't a well-oiled machine by any means. We still have a lot of work to do, but we have a lot of building clocks to build from. That's the part that has me very excited.

I saw a lot of the older, veteran guys who understand how we practice and the tempo we expect for practice go and reach out to the younger guys to explain what that's all about. That's always encouraging.

It's day one, and on day one everyone is always excited. They are tired of talking and doing all of those kinds of things. It was fun to be out here and be together again.