Aug. 7, 2012
By Nick Frank
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – With warm weather and summer storm clouds shading the sun, the Ram football team lined up to run the customary conditioning portion of practice.
However, Head Coach Jim McElwain surprised his players by releasing them from their conditioning duties as a reward for their exceptional practice.
“I really believe that they are starting to understand why you come out here,” said McElwain. “It isn’t to go through the motions but to actually win the day, get better today, and that is going to help you for tomorrow. When they start to understand the why and not just the, ‘Well I have to do this’, it really helps them.”
On the defensive side of the ball, the first-year head coach believes the teams returning leading tackler, Shaquil Barrett, has exemplified that attitude.
“His personality off the field as a quiet kind of guy, doesn’t necessarily match the way he plays the game on the field,” said McElwain. “He plays the game the way it is supposed to be played; he plays hard and isn’t out there talking late after a whistle or anything like that. That is the way it should be.”
Offensively, quarterback Garrett Grayson has seemingly stepped into a leadership role. While McElwain stressed that there is intense competition at every position, Grayson has taken a majority of the snaps with the first team.
“I thought he came on late,” said McElwain. “What he did with this team this summer is when I thought he may have really come of age. You can tell by his body; he has really attacked what coach (Mike) Kent and Rashaad Harris have done in the weight room and that is what being a leader is all about.”
Fall Camp Notebook
Donning Pads: Wednesday’s practice will mark the first day of fall camp that the team will wear full pads. Thus far, players have only worn ‘shells’, comprised of shoulder pads, a helmet and shorts.
Visual Cues: New to the field are red lines painted parallel to the sideline, approximately six yards from the out-of-bounds line.
“What you try to do is teach your receivers not to get squeezed to the boundary but to hold the red line,” said McElwain. “It gives your quarterbacks an aim point to put it. It is just something we have used wherever I have been forever. It is just a reference so when we use the cue during a game (hold the red line), they know exactly what we are talking about.”
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