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Dr Z

Photography & Coach Interview [Practice 3/9]

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Here are a few images from today's practice. CK will have some notes in the next 24 hrs, then I'll add a few things that I observed. You will notice a few (three if you're observant) position changes in the photos. Keep in mind, the staff is trying things out early. Blue is offense, white is defense, quarterbacks are in gold now, and the red are injuries. 

 

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I spy Alvin Davis at corner as opposed to S, and

DeAndre Brimage at DE as opposed to DT.

I'm missing one.

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Food for thought. Last year Alvin played corner in a scrimmage. After the scrimmage I asked coach Bowden "Alvin at corner?", coach Bowden "yeah, we were a little short at DB today, Alvin is such a good football player, he can play any position in the secondary"  Yesterday at corner, Alvin made two knockdown plays. He has such great instincts. 

 

Keep in mind the Zips have moved to a 3-4 base defense. In the sixth photo from the bottom, you will see Jonathan Neeley. Jonathan has been moved from the offensive line, to the defensive line. Dylan Meeks has also been moved to the defensive line. 

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24 minutes ago, Dr Z said:

Food for thought. Last year Alvin played corner in a scrimmage. After the scrimmage I asked coach Bowden "Alvin at corner?", coach Bowden "yeah, we were a little short at DB today, Alvin is such a good football player, he can play any position in the secondary"  Yesterday at corner, Alvin made two knockdown plays. He has such great instincts. 

 

Keep in mind the Zips have moved to a 3-4 base defense. In the sixth photo from the bottom, you will see Jonathan Neeley. Jonathan has been moved from the offensive line, to the defensive line. Dylan Meeks has also been moved to the defensive line. 

Dylan Meeks was DL last year, he was recruited as LB, played TE as a freshman. I noticed both a 4-3 & 3-4 in pics, my 3 guesses where Davis at CB, Bubba was ILB & in the 4-3 pic where you see Davis at corner, Bubba is OLB & in the 3-4 Brimage moved out from DT in 4 man front to DE in 3 man front

 

I missed Neeley but I see it now going back

Edited by 94zipgrad

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Meeks will play the 5 technique this year. 

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I was able to speak with Coach Arth after the practice and ask a few questions.

 

Question #1: What was the primary focus of this practice?  What specific goals were you hoping to accomplish?

 

“I think most importantly, this group of players, they’ve exceeded our expectations throughout this winter. From the first day we arrived here, to the group that they are now, is completely different and I’m so proud of them. The way they’re performing in the classroom, the way their grades have improved…it’s been a really positive thing. The same held true for our practice today. We had a certain expectation for how we expected it to go, and they exceeded it. I thought today was an excellent day. The way we were able to practice, to communicate, to get aligned, to make our calls, was really good. Obviously, there’s a lot of things we’ll need to work on from an execution standpoint.  But I was very happy with the effort I saw.

 

Question #2: This was the most scrimmage situations I’ve seen run in a practice so early in the spring. With an entirely new staff and system, how were the players so prepared…on essentially Day #1 of spring football…to line up and play?

 

“I think it’s a credit to the players. In a short amount of time, with the limited number of meetings we’ve been able to have, they’ve been dialed-in. Players have been coming up to be asking to meet with the coaches beyond what was scheduled. There was a group of wideouts and a few tight ends working out Thursday night at about 8 pm, going through a walk-through on their own. I think our players have bought-in and embraced everything that we’re doing and I couldn’t be prouder of them.

 

Question #3: How nice is it for you to finally see what you’ve got on the playing field rather than watching tape, or reps in a weight room?

 

“It’s great. You really don’t have a true feel for the guys in meetings. You need to get out on the field where you have a chance to coach them and see them work. See them compete. I’ve been pleased with what I’ve seen. We’ve got a long way to go. But from where I expected us to be, and where we are today. I’m very pleased.”

 

Question #4: You’ve spent a lot of time working with the QB’s. What do you like about what you’ve got at the quarterback position in 2019?

 

“I really like the group in general. It’s been great for me to be back in the room coaching those guys every single day. I think Coach Schaefer, our offensive quality control coach who played quarterback for me at John Carroll, has done a fantastic job with these QB’s. When we were out on the road recruiting, and when I was tied up with the various things I need to do as a Head Coach over the winter, he’s done a fantastic job of meeting with the guys and preparing them. Like all the other players, these quarterbacks have really embraced what we’re doing. The mental side of things, the learning, is something they’ve really made a priority. And you have to do that if you’re going to be successful at the quarterback position.”

 

Question #5: I noticed a few players have switched positions. Alvin Davis at cornerback, Tyler Gilchrist at safety and Jonathan Neeley on the defensive line. Can you talk a little about those moves?

 

“We’re just trying to feel everybody out right now. We’re trying to get an idea of what people are capable of doing. We value versatility on our team, on offense, defense and special teams. The more ways you can contribute, the more value you can add. And right now, we’re just trying to find out what everybody can do. There’ll be a lot of guys moving around throughout the spring. When it’s all over in mid-April, we’ll determine what our needs are. From there, we’ll create a great plan for the team to follow when summer camp opens.”

 

Question #6: Can you give me one or two things that you saw today that stuck out in your mind as noteworthy, or special at today’s practice?

 

“Yeah…from an offensive standpoint, related to the quarterbacks, we had talked in our meetings about a particular route where, if we had an outside leverage on the slot receiver, and there was no middle-of-the-field defender, that we’d have the opportunity to get the ball out quickly on a slant route. The first time it came up, Kato recognized it and made the play. In a game that would have been a 20-yard completion, or if the receiver would have broken a tackle, a touchdown. I thought that was a great example of something we’d discussed in our meetings this morning being executed on the field. There were a number of examples today where we took what we’d discussed in meetings and transferred it to the field, where we took what we learned as an individual in meetings and transferred it to the team. That was a big positive I took from today.”

 

Question #7: I noticed the quarterback was under center on occasion today. Is that something we should expect to see from the Zips on Saturdays?

 

“Our offense is going to very multiple. Right now, we’re trying to figure out who we are and what we can do well.  Hopefully when spring practices are done, we’ll have a very good idea of what we need to focus on in the summer, and what we’ll be in the fall.”

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As far as observations from the practice:

  • The occasionally feisty Kato was on his best behavior. All the players were. There was no goofing around, no fisticuffs. Everyone was focused on the job at hand. I heard that when the depth chart is released, it will likely be in alphabetical order. Everyone is being evaluated from scratch.
  • Nate Stewart made a couple nice catches. One on a deep sideline route that would have been good for 40 yards. He stood out. Abe Alce showed some soft hands on a swing pass from the fullback position. He's a big kid. It'll be fun to see how he is integrated into the offense. 
  • Word on the street is AJ Milwee has landed on Nick Saban's staff at Alabama?
  • The pace of the practice was VERY up-tempo. Constant movement. The offense-defense scrimmage plays were all run at a 2-minute drill pace.  plays Coach Arth stressed that he wants his team to be the most prepared late in games. To be able to think clearly in late-game situations. To be the best conditioned team on the field. In the practice, when a wideout caught a ball, they ran it to the endzone. That was part of the conditioning. He said he doesn't want to runs sprints. He wants the conditioning to come from "football plays" and their work in drills. If I were a player, I'd like that.
  • I think it will be fun to get to know Coach Zagorski. He seems like an animated, likable guy. 
  • Kickers practiced outdoors, and then moved inside. Kicker/punter positions are wide open. That will be a very interesting battle to watch. 
  • It's tough to draw much from the first practice of the spring. But to me it seemed like the players have all bought in. They were all engaged and working hard. The coaches were constantly encouraging and instructing.  There was a good vibe in the field house.
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UR correct! Can't tell anything from an early workout with a new coach and staff at the helm. Lets see what happens at the spring game and end of August.

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A few more Random thoughts from Saturday.

 

Shawn Featherstone is almost cleared to practice. All his paperwork is in order to receive another year, but he hasn’t got the word just yet.

 

Tyler Gilchrist was moved to safety late last week. Anonymous staff member “first impression was good”

 

Nate Stewart looks like he is ready to contribute more this season. He had some nice plays showing strength, and quickness. 

 

I think this is the earliest practice that I have been to, but it was impressive for the little amount of time together, how quick and efficient it was run.

 

Put this in the back of your mind. Coach Arth preaches that you win and lose many games late, he wants the Zips conditioned so that they are able to win late games. He referenced Kobe Bryant's (you could tell this wasn't the first time he spoke to the team about this) ridiculous dedication to his craft. He referenced another professional football player's work ethic. He preaches a committed work ethic is the difference. From an anonymous player after practice "I like the whole staff...they hold us accountable, and except nothing less...they bring the competitiveness out of everybody, you can see the difference"  I know it's early, but this seems to be the attitude. 

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Thanks CK.  This just confirms for me what I expected.  New coach/ new depth chart!  One's and two's of old will crank it up to stay there; all others will see their chance to move up.  I firmly believe that at this level performance is 20% ability/80% attitude.  I expect some big surprises out of this group.  Much can be accomplished with the proper attitude.  We may not win the MAC, but I don't expect a down year.  Save some vacation for December.

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