Attack Each Day - the Harbaugh podcast - posted a special 'season preview edition' this morning. There's some good stuff in there, most of it is to be expected. That said, it's a good listen just to hear coach talk about the team. There's some other fun anecdotes mixed in that are worth listening to as well.
OL Credit to Ed Warinner, moving people up front, protecting better.
Receivers -- Guys are starting to emerge and playing well, there could be surprises that you wouldn't have expected.
Devin Bush is one of the faster players I've ever seen on a football field. Tremendous detail on knowing assignments and making adjustments.
Rashaun Gary comes out and works... at times, faster than some of the skill positions at 300lb. Moving that frame so quickly consistently can't be easy. He brings fire and the guys feed off of it.
Early in camp I noticed some of the OL guys were nervous. Looking down at their shoes. A guy like Mike Dwunfour has come along based on the example Gary and Winovich set every day. By practice 6, 7, 8, 9 it's taking on the challenge. Not only are they holding their own, they're winning sometimes.
Those three corners (Hill, Long, Watson) are playing at a very high level, with Ambry Thomas right there knocking at the door.
Linebacker is no different. Devin Bush setting an unbelievable example. Taking over a leadership position doing things right on a day after day basis. Devin Gil another guy that's right there and doing a heck of a good job. Josh Ross about to become a sophomore, he's right there battling with Gil for a starting position. Hesistate to talk too much about the young guys, but he's a good football player. Noah Furbush is really having a heck of a good (interrupted by Jack).
Khaleke has made so many plays through this entire training camp. He's really playing at a high level. (We once thought) Who would play as good as Jabril Peppers? Probably nobody. Then here's Khaleke Hudson and he's doing a heck of a job.
They cut the practices this year from 29 to 25, it's been reduced to as low as it could possibly be to get ready for a football season. And you still see the mental part of it. Having to go every day. Having to practice every day. Having to do meetings and now it's a real crash course. But still that's all taking place between someone's ears.
There's GPS, we're tracking this thing every possible way it can be tracked. Still they reduced it physically. There's no question, you only get better at football by playing football with a squad. The weight room is a huge piece, but getting the technique and fundamentals you need to play. I believe the mental challenge is the same 20, 10 years ago as it is now, can they get over the self talk in their mind, am I really good enough? Can I do this? Understand they're either getting better or getting worse, like Bo would say.
Get out there, play every play as hard as you can. Know your assigments. Know your adjustments.
WHAT HAPPENS IN WEEK 2
When you get into the second week, after you've done the first seven to ten days, now that next week. Still a whole week before game week. In golf they refer to Saturday as moving day, this week is 'moving week'. Where are you moving? Up the depth chart, or down the depth chart, you're faltering, or watching other guys falter, you're a shark and there's blood in the water. You're seizing it. This is MY moment. This is MY opportunity. That occurs in this week now.
GAINING AN EDGE
Larry Bird talked about shooting 100 free throws before he went to school. He'd be thinking about the other ones who were sleeping in. At first it's the ones on your own team. You want to become a starting player and contribute. Now you're thinking about the other Quarterbacks in the Big Ten and you want to outwork them. I know if I'm doing this right now, I'm going to be outworking the QB on another team. If I want to be the best in the country, then I have to get an edge. That was a real motivation. Just a constant understanding, I gotta keep my socks dry, I can't get a blister to keep me out of practice. I can't let my arm get sore. I can't let anyone catch up. "Never look back, someone might be gaining on you." Satchel Paige.
I've seen that with a lot of our guys. You talk about separation. As a coach, separation is a good thing. You know who your starters are. Jack - Competition drives separation.
You look at the battery when you talk about the field goal unit... the snapper, the holder, kicker. It's coming along nicely. Cheeseman returns as the snapper. Quinn Nordin returns as the FG kicker, and Will Hart as the holder. Solid there, and there's been quite a bit of good competition at punter. The returners are a really good competition as well.
The great Jordan Glasgow plays on all four teams. You talk about a stalwart football player who figures all of these things out, just like his two older brothers did. How would you like to be Dr Steve Glasgow? Three sons all played started in college football, now two out of them with the Lions and Bengals. If he puts three sons in the NFL that would have to be a record. I told him the other day I would be envious. Jordan, every single day doing all the good things I'm talking about.
Jack - Not a single guy who works harder. Jim - I would not argue with that. Watch him and do it like he does it.
I think we're going in a really good direction there (TEs). Zach Gentry and Shawn McKeon both are really playing well. Two new freshmen that are going to be good ball players. Nick Eubanks is right there behing McKeon Gentry. The two have really matured and seasoned. Zach has really learned how to use the 6'8 frame. There's times you'd expect him to be jumping up, he's mistiming his jump. But he's improved so much with the body control. His blocking is night and day. Sherrone Moore our TE coach has just been PHENOMENAL. Phenomenal coach. That room is tight knit. That's been a great improvement for us this year.
Karan and Chris, Chris and Karan. Just like that. They've really emerged and led the way as leaders on our offense. The other backs are growing. Mari (Samuels) is growing. Tru Wilson, the last two days, taking coaching where he needed to. To see him take the coaching and then to the field and the light bulb has come on. That's awesome. A couple young players in Christian Turner and Hassan Haskins are going to be good players. It's really important to Karan, it's really important to Chris. The standard is a high level.
The WR are doing extremely well. Everyone knows those are two (DPJ & Tarik) really good football players and they're playing very well. Grant Perry is arguably playing better than anybody. He's playing at a really high level, there's a couple other names I'm keeping under the radar that are really coming on. You want to see stack in multiple days and see that it's real.
Jim McElwain deserves a shoutout at this point. He's just attacking it with an unbeliebale passion. Every day. Practice. Meeting. Emphasizing the details. Coaching our players on releases. Creating separation. Creating space. Catching the ball. It's improving and you see it daily, and super excited about it.
They've been adapting very well. Doing a nice job. Excited about all of them. The longer it takes to figure out they're good, the better off they'll be. Stay hungry. See if it's real. Sustain it day after day. Coming out of the shoot the first few days you wish you could bottle that energy and attitude. So far really good. Let's not ruin it and think that anybody has arrived. You see it often when you see a guys there and he's not. We've had nine practices, lets just stay in the process.
Every freshman asks am I good enough. You see it in the eyes and the demeanor. Looking at the shoes. Then looking at the top of the eyes. Time passes and they get better by playing. Taking the coaching. Then the chin bobs a bit. They look around and think I got this.
The competition has been outstanding. It's raising the tide of all of our quarterbacks. It's important to them and they're working every day to understand what they're doing. The talent is really there. It's obvious. Maybe more at that position than any other position over the first nine days.
Jack - Nobody in that competition is blinking. They think they belong and they can play and that's what you look for.
Jim - You described it to a tee.