Live Blog Twice Today, Dodge Days From Denton Part IX

A Mixture of Emotions
6:00 p.m.
D-Coordinator, Greg DeLoach, had a number of things to say to his defense during this afternoon’s practice.  “Don’t reach out and grab!” exclaimed DeLoach. “You gotta keep working and remember we are in game mode.” Offering assistance to his linebackers when reading plays, DeLoach said, “Don’t go til you know.” He also praised his corners when in pass coverage. “That’s what I wanted to see,” said the coach. “That’s how it’s played.”

Tempers Flare
5:26 p.m.
For the first time during the summer drills, we finally saw a little scuffle. Tyler Kubala and Kyle Russo got their money’s worth when they went at it well past the final whistle and eventually had to be pulled apart by teammates and coaches. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to see that type of emotion, hopefully next time though it will be against Kansas State on Aug. 30. 

The Softer Side of DeLoach
4:50 p.m.
Although he’s known for his high intensity, defensive coordinator Gary DeLoach was taking it easy on his defense in this the second practice of the day, ordering all of them to take a knee and rest in between special teams drills. “When I want you to sit I want you to sit,” DeLoach yelled. “When I ask you to go hard though, you better go hard!” The temperature has picked up a bit since this morning’s cool 80 degree weather.
Some highlights thus far: Bron Hager ripped his shorts nearly completely off during linebacker drills; the offense was working on running reverses and Brock Stickler made an impressive one-handed lunging catch along the sidelines. 

And We’re Back...
3:54 p.m.
Today’s afternoon practice is moments away from starting and we’re about to head down to the field to catch you up on the latest. Stay tuned!

Stick of the day
2:07 p.m.
Junior linebacker Steven Warren gets the SOD plated trophy today. During team drills Warren was creeping up on the line and was there to meet freshman running back Jeremi Mathis. Warren lifted Mathis, not small task, and planted him. We also had a chance to catch up with our SOD winner of the day after practice

(On today’s morning practice)
“I liked our tempo on defense. We could improve on a few things, but it was a good practice overall. We made some nice plays at the end.”   

(On his own performance including a bone-jarring hit)
“I feel like I’m getting better and working hard when I’m on the field. I hope to get more playing time and potentially be a starter.”

The Shark
11:30 a.m.
Brock Stickler seems to be living up to his name. Everything that’s toss his way, he catches. Perfect example was during team drills. Vizza lobbed a high-ball towards the end zone,  and like one of these, up sprang Stickler to bring down another TD catch in double coverage.

Play Of The Day
11:05 a.m.
CB Antoine Bush made a terrific play towards the end of today’s morning practice. On one particular passing play, the 5’11” junior ran step for step with the receiver not giving him any separation. As the ball was arriving, Bush leaped to make a one-handed snag for an interception. The rest of the defense had a little more pep in their step after this play. Future opposing quarterbacks may want to stay away from number 35.

Ford Tough
10:40 a.m.
We caught up with offensive coordinator Todd Ford after practice and he talked about how the offense is shaping up for the 2008 season.

Q: How’s the offense been progressing over the past couple weeks?
A: “Right now we’re at a nice pace. We’ve been installing a lot into the playbook so everyone has a lot on their minds. Hopefully by the middle of this week they won’t be thinking as much. We’ll want to see some production and have them reacting, not thinking.”

Q: Is there a different feeling this season compared to last year?
A: “The main thing we have going for us is the continuity amongst the offense. Most of the core is back from last season so that makes it easier for us. We’re able to do a lot more coaching instead of teaching.”

Q: What individuals or units have stood out so far?
A: “Our offensive line has made a lot of progress. We’ve got a few who are banged up right now but we’re pleased with how hard they’ve been working. Most of the receivers are back so they remember what we want to accomplish. Our running backs have been running well (Micah Mosley and Cam Montgomery). Our freshmen have really stepped up. Jeremi Mathis and Lance Dunbar have looked good. We’re really excited about the future of this freshman class.

Q: What type of potential does this offense present for 2008?
A: “It boils down to the trust on this team and whether or not everyone is going to take care of their job. We have the potential to cause problems in the conference. Right now we’re a work in progress but we’re excited about what can potentially come of this unit.” 

Veteran Advice
9:57 a.m.
Freshman cornerback Royce Hill got beat on a deep post pattern by Marcus King during one-on-one drills a bit ago. Hill had kept up with Brown during the route but he took the wrong angle towards the ball. Who was there to pick him up? That would be senior Latif Nurudeen, who took him over to the side and gave Hill some veteran advice. “You’ve got to get uphill next time he does that to you,” Nurudeen said. “Don’t go from the outside. You’re a good player man. You’ve got all the skills and the speed. I even saw you in the All-Star Game (Texas High School Coaches Association) doing the same thing.” On Hill’s next assignment he played Desmond Brigham perfectly on a fade route towards the sidelines. Looks like some savvy veteran leadership already paying off. 

Drill Bits
9:15 a.m.
Just some light drills going on right now. The linebackers were working on an interception drill that had two men lined up, both running forward and while a ball was thrown in their direction the first defender would drop, leaving the second LB to intercept the pass. Offensively, the QB’s were working on throwing the screen, but waiting till the last possible second to do so, allowing the blitz to sink in. Freshman Troy Kokjohn was practicing some long snapping, trying to get in sync with the punters.
Finally, the defensive lineman were working on staying low, going after each other on one-on-one drills using a cage that sits about 5 feet off the ground. The action is sure to pick up here pretty soon. 

Running the red
8:49 a.m.
An interesting wrinkle that has been added to the North Texas practice fields is a long continuous red line within the playing field that is for wide receivers. The receivers when running most routes,  expected to run as close to or on the red line as possible. Wide receiver Sam Dibrell ran a textbook route in early drills with the QB’s and made a sliding catch. His grab drew early morning praise from WR coach Clayton George “That’s the way to start us off Sammy”.

Flying south
8:40 a.m
What has to go down as the best day of weather for the Mean Green to practice in all summer and perhaps all year. No sun, no heat, and best of all no dragonflies.

7:47 a.m.

this morning marks the first of two practices for North Texas in what we consider the first real 2-a-day of the year. The Mean Green gets rolling in about 20 minutes from now with its first workout of the day before returning to the practice fields for more fund this afternoon at 4 p.m. Plenty of updates to come between now and then.

Dodge Days Part VIII
Dodge Days Part VII
Dodge Days Part VI
Dodge Days Part V
Dodge Days Part IV
Dodge Days Part III
Dodge Days Part II
Dodge Days Part I



North Texas Mean Green