First of all, tempo. It's a common theme this year, something that we've been hearing time and again in describing the differences with the new regime. But what does it mean? Basically, we are going to play FAST on offense this year. Not out of control fast, ala Loyala-Marymount of the '90's, chucking up shots 5 seconds into the shot clock every possession. But we will be quicker on offense. The no-huddle speaks to that. And so far, the players are already feeling it just one day into the new era. As Howie Stalwick reported yesterday, things are different according to Dwight Tardy, Brandon Gibson and Devin Giles:
"I think they are more intense, more strict," junior running back Dwight Tardy said. "They expect more from us.
"It seems like they expect us to be more like men. Like, 'Grow up already.' I think last year, (the old coaching staff) just kind of let us slide with a lot of stuff."
Senior wide receiver Brandon Gibson said differences in the two coaching staffs have "definitely" caught the attention of players.
"I'm not saying last year (the coaches) weren't upbeat, but these guys, they're anxious," Gibson said. "They're anxious to get everything going.
"They want to prove that we're ready and that they're worthy."
"I like (the new coaching staff) better," junior cornerback Devin Giles said. "They teach us a lot of things. It's very intense; no walking around, no nothing."
So make no mistake about it - this is a new deal all the way around. And the message is being sent loud and clear from day one, in that either you get on board and understand what it is going to take to get things turned around, or we will move on without you.
One common theme you hear from the Mike-Holmgren Seahawks is tempo, tempo, tempo. The Hawks west-coast offense is at it's best when they are simply moving quicker. Quicker to the huddle, quicker to the line of scrimmage, quicker off the ball. It's getting in that rhythm, and an attack, attack, attack mentality instead of slowly lumbering around and reacting to what you see and hoping it works out. It's getting AFTER it, instead of being passive. How can you not like that?? But you can't just wake up on Saturday morning, gameday, and say "Ok, we're going to be faster today". If you want to play that way on gameday, you have to practice that way during the week. And that's exactly what we are seeing now.
There was some not-so-good news on the player front. Some guys are recovering from injuries, including starting punter Reid Forrest, coming off ankle surgery. Forrest cracked a bone in his ankle in July and that led to the surgery (there's your "mystery" ankle injury that we heard about). Forrest was on crutches and in a walking boot at practice. Wulff told the Seattle Times that there was a chance Forrest could be ready for the start of the season, so we'll see. Markes Dawes is trying to come back for one more year, but is still recovering from shoulder surgery and isn't quite ready for action. On the academic front, apparently there are a couple of casualties after all. DE Jesse Feagin is going to redshirt due to academics, and unfortunately, D-tackle Josh Luapo couldn't enroll and will likely not show up in Pullman until January. With the d-tackle depth thin as it is, not having Luapo in the mix could hurt down the line, but we'll see how things develop there.
Good write-up by Todd Miles of the TNT on Dwight Tardy's recovery from knee surgery. It sounds as though the progress has been pretty remarkable for a guy who just had surgery just about 10 months ago. How good is his progress? So good that he wasn't even wearing a knee brace at practice(!), something that surprised Steve Broussard. , but so far, so good:
“First day was great. It was like being a kid again,” he said boastfully, with a smile to back it up. “No aches and pains. After practice, it was a little sore, but nothing ice can’t handle.”A cool thing to come of this is that Tardy used the new underwater treadmills that were purchased a few years ago for the athletic department, and that sounds like it really helped his recovery. They don't give that type of equipment away on the corner with a FREE sign, so nice to see the money for that stuff was well spent. But Tardy isn't all the way back, according to Bruiser:
“We did a couple of drills today, and he was dragging (the knee),” Broussard said. “As we move forward with it, we’ll see how he does with certain movements, and how he becomes comfortable with it.”Tardy's knee and how he responds to the daily pounding of practice is certainly going to be a big thing to watch the rest of the month.
Finally, some really great video over at the Spokesman, recapping day one. Good highlights and comments from players and Wulff. It's a must-see for what turned out to be a nice start to the new era.
Enjoy your Wednesday, and as always, GO COUGS!