With just under a month to go until the season opener, Neal Brown’s squad is bound to eventually have a bad practice — but to Brown, a bad practice is just that.
“The whole deal is — and I believe this — if you do little things right, and you prepare and you work hard, then good things are going to happen,” Brown said. “But I think the opposite is also true….in the same aspect, that ball will find you, and you will be exposed, and we had some guys get exposed today.”
His disappointment lies in two areas: veterans who don’t overcome adversity like he thinks they should, and newcomers who don’t come in with an “attack the day” mentality.
For Brown, however, that blame doesn’t lie squarely on the players. After letting his team know his thoughts on today’s performance, he turned some of the responsibility on himself and his staff.
“As coaches, we’ve got to do a better job of getting them ready, and that starts with me,” he said. “So, I think it’s on us, too, to get them ready.”
Brown hopes to see his players’ response tomorrow at practice, which he says will be the hardest of camp: the first day of full pads.
Despite the disappointment, there were some bright spots. Competition is a staple at Brown’s practices, and he says the guys who stepped up to the line — namely Keith Washington, Sam James, Alec Sinkfield and Ty’Kee Smith — did their part to start practice off the right way.
On top of that, Brown is noticing improvement in much of his squad, including wide receiver Bryce Wheaton, a redshirt freshman.
“From guys that went through spring to guys now, he would be the most improved player,” he said. “I’ll say this: he had a lot of adversity in the spring. Things didn’t go the way he wanted to, he got coached harder than he’s been coached before, he got beat a lot, and rather than tucking his tail…he went to work.”
Brown says that Wheaton, as well as many of the other guys who visibly went to work in the offseason, are really showing their improvement on the field.