March 21, 2012
By Stuart Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - After not sleeping Tuesday night Head Coach Jim McElwain, and his CSU football team, completed his first practice Wednesday evening and it was unlike any practice these players have seen.
There was a very fast tempo and nobody was standing around.
“We want practice to roll and go fast,” said McElwain. “We want to be out here ideally for about an hour and 50 minutes. Guys hustling in and out. We’ll have drills going and there will be ones and threes on one field and twos and fours on the other.”
Even players from the special teams unit were filling in where needed. And when they weren’t running with a scout team they were conditioning with assistant strength and conditioning coach Rashad Harris.
For it being the first practice in over three months McElwain was impressed with how the Rams approached practice.
“The guys hit the field with the right attitude and thats what you can hope for right now,” McElwain said. “Obviously there is a lot to work on. You can tell its been a long time since they’ve been in practice. One thing you get when you go to bowl games is you practice into December and there is less lag time. You could tell we were awful rusty. For the most part I was really excited to be out here and I love the way the guys approached it.”
Like any good coach, McElwain has goals for his team. The goal for spring is for the players to understand how McElwain and his staff run things.
“I think the main goal here is to understand the tempo of practice and how we want it run,” McElwain said. “Simple things like your shirts are tucked in and things like that. If you take care of the little details, the big details take care of themselves. So it is all of those type of things from a discipline standpoint that we are trying to get across.”
McElwain said that the team has adapted really well to his rules and he credits his coaching staff.
Even though a lot of good came from Wednesday’s practice the Rams did take a hit in the linebacker department.
McElwain announced that senior Michael Kawulok, who suffered a knee injury last year during spring practices, will not compete for the Rams.
“He tried to push that knee through conditioning,” McElwain said. “And just through all the injuries he’s had, he wanted a medical redshirt. The great thing is that it’s like having an extra coach now. Because he is still a student he is able to coach out on the field.”
Kawulok will spend his final year at CSU as a student assistant, a position that McElwain calls “invaluable.”
Another noticeable difference was the missing sign from above the entrance to the practice fields south of Moby Arena. The sign that read, ‘championships are won on a daily basis,’ has been taken down and McElwain says the team will need to earn whatever is put up there next.
The Rams will look to improve Friday as they take the field for their second practice.
Other post-practice comments from McElwain
On being out of the coat and tie and being on the field: “It’s funny because I didn’t sleep a wink last night because I was so excited to get out on the field and actually be able to coach some ball.”
On his practice style: “I don’t know what they were used to but there are a lot of different drills that go on and guys aren’t standing around. There are a lot of three and four spot drills. So our deal is get as many reps as we can and teach it off of film; correct what you need to immediately but don’t sit there and have a conversation. Lets grade it on film.
“Reps are like little bits of gold and you keep stacking them and stacking them, learn about those reps and the only way they get better is by taking reps.
“Seeing yourself on film, that is the key. Sometimes you ask them what they did, then you show the clip and they say, ‘boy I didn’t know that.’ Those are the great things about getting guys a lot of reps.”
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