Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Tempo, Tempo, Tempo

The first day of practices are in the books, so we'll get right to it with some linkage:

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!


Brinkhater said...

Personally (here comes a statement of the obvious!), I think it would be a big, big boost for us to have a healthy Tardy.

At the same time, were his injury to relegate him to a back-up role, I don't think that would be the end of the world. Ivory has big time talent in my book and has bullets (years) left in the holster. Plus, the more reps he gets this year, the more poised we are to have a real double threat for the next two years with Montgomery eligible next year.

When you consider the depth we may have built on the o-line and the addition of Montgomery to the fold, perhaps we may not be as bad in 2009-10 as I've predicted..

How sweet is it for this ball to be rolling????

Rooster said...

I agree with BH, I'm a big Ivory fan. Look at the guys neck... or lack there of. It's like his ears are sticking out of his delts. I want to see Tardy healthy and starting but it's not the end of the world if he takes his time getting comfortable on that knee.

Sedihawk said...

Depth would be nice to make friends with, wouldn't it? The thing is, Tardy and Ivory will be back next year as well, to go with Montgomery. All three of those guys are going to compete for touches next year. And then Chance Staden, the JC transfer this year. It could be a nice stable of backs.

ptowncoug said...

Look at you all about "O" guys. I sat down the other day to watch the WSU-UT Holiday bowl. An attacking agressive "D" with huge playmakers (Derting, Coleman, David, DD). Let's face it, it has been our "D" that has really hurt us. I believe there were 9 Senior starters on the 2003 Holiday bowl. I know the 4 D-line were SRs, Genatone and Jackson were Srs. David, Coleman, Williams were also Srs. Only Paymah and Derting were not.
Now 4 seasons removed, I am hoping that Mattingly turns into a wrecking machine, and Hicks continues to improve. I just don't think we have had a LB since Derting's injury that has really excited me (except for Mattingly who is now on the Dline).
The D must improve this year!

Sedihawk said...

Come on ptown, we know it isn't all about the O! Defense wins championships (or gets to bowl games at least). And our D was a mess for 1/2 the year last year. And even when we did improve, it still wasn't ever good enough. But we'll see. I love having Ball back in the mix, and with more responsibility instead of just the DB's. But no doubt that 03 team was talented on D with NFL-quality players. 3/4ths of the secondary that started that game have also started games in the NFL. That was a hell of a group Price brought in, and hopefully we get back to that with Wulff.

Anonymous said...

I hate to break some bad news, but after being connected with Ivory in an academic sense, I have a hard time believing that he will be eligible throughout the season. We have to keep our eyes on the young recieving corp for positive aspects. The Cougs could sneak up on a few folks, and a creative, quick offense can give defenses fits (Boise State). We need to keep supporting Wulff's turning around of the program and brining in more qualitiy men (like Gibson, Tardy, Higgins) and rejecting potential problems like the QB from South Tacoma.

The reasons for optimism are myriad, but maybe not in 2008.

Brinkhater said...

Its pretty hard to become academically ineligible during the season. So, if Chris is to hit the skids, it would be for the Spring semester + whatever additional probation might be warranted.

But, unless the rules have changed dramatically, academic eligibility is determined by status at the start of the respective term--which for Ivory would be now.

Hoops is the double whammy cuz kids need to be eligible at both the start of fall and spring semesters. Ditto kids who are on the quarter system..

For the interest of the kids, the eligibility standard should be for their entire time in school.

Give Chris props for making it this far given where he was at...

Anonymous said...

Isn't Ivory the RB that everytime he had the ball and saw someone coming towards him, he would stop and fake a different direction... but would stutter for too long and get tackled? He always frustrated me because he could've ran so much farther if he didn't try to throw off the defensive every time. 1 or 2 misdirections can work well, but he seemed to try and do it 3 or 4 times. if he can get past that, he would be a great runner IMO.