Even though the football Bearcats have had only two of their fifteen spring practices, Bearcat Lair, who was the only media present for Saturday’s practice, spoke with Coach Jones about his time frame for hiring a new coach and his early impressions of spring football.
With the recent departure of Coach Coombs to Ohio State, Coach Jones was asked when he was expecting to fill that vacancy on his staff.
“We hope to have that done on Monday,” he said.
In Saturday’s practice, Coach Elder was working with the safeties and newly hired Coach Manning had taken Elder’s spot with the running backs. The new assistant coach will tutor the cornerbacks.
Even though it has been only two practices (without full pads), Coach Jones was asked what he has learned so far.
“I think some individuals have really stepped up from the strength and conditioning area,” he said. “You can see the progress that a lot of our younger players have made. They are much more confident. Their bodies have changed and their athletic ability as well.”
Jones was asked to identify some of the young players that have improved the most.
“I’m really encouraged right now by Kevin Schloemer,” said Jones. “Kevin Schloemer has had a really good offseason, and it shows. Jameel Poteat has really changed his body, and you can see it on the field. He has better endurance. I think Dyjuan Lewis continues to show the progress he made during bowl preparation. Defensively, Dwight Jackson has shown me a few things, but it’s just day two. We’ll learn a lot more once the pads come out.”
Since Monday’s practice was cancelled, presumably to give the newly hired assistant coach some time to acclimate himself, the pads won’t come out until Tuesday for practice No. 3.
The most asked question coming into spring football was who would replace Zach Collaros at quarterback. Munchie Legaux has been taking the No. 1 reps, but Brendon Kay has been getting just as much work with Patrick Coyne running third. Coach Jones was asked about the early progress at that key position.
“It’s hard to say right now because it’s only the second practice. I was pleased the first practice, but I was not pleased today. There were too many interceptions, and I didn’t think any individual stepped up and really managed our offense. That’s what we’re looking for, a person who can manage our offense at a high level of consistency.”
Early enrollees Bennie Coney and Trenton Norvell are getting their first exposure to BCS football. The two young signal callers are trying to learn the offense and take advantage of every rep sent their way.
“Every rep counts whether it’s a skelly, a team period or an individual period,” said Jones. “As they grasp more of the offense, they repetitions will go up. Right now their eyes are big and they’re letting their mind tie their feet and arm up a little bit.”
Defensively, the biggest area of concern would be tackle with the loss of Derek Wolfe and John Hughes to graduation, but until the players get into pads, it’s tough to judge how well the big guys are playing in the trenches.
“It’s really hard to access that with no pads on,” said Jones. “We’ll know more when we get into pads, which will be our next practice. We’re going to need some individuals to step up like Jordan Stepp stepped up for us last year.”
Practice No. 3 will be held on Tuesday followed by another Saturday session. The squad will then take some time off for exams and spring break before returning to action the last week of March