Aug. 9, 2012
By Stuart Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations
Thursday morning featured a full-padded practice that went a little over two hours. Head Coach Jim McElwain thought the beginning of practice lacked intensity, so he restarted all the drills.
"The guys struggled getting themselves going therefore we had to start practice over," McElwain said.
After the restart the intensity cranked back up and the Rams got into a flow that the coaching staff wanted to see.
The theme of practice seemed to be ball security offensively, and defensively getting the ball back for the offense.
The wide receivers and running backs had drills specific to holding the ball "high and tight." There was also a drill where the players would run down the field while being chased by a "defender" who was trying to punch the ball loose.
The defensive players worked on jumping on fumbles and properly scooping a loose ball. In one drill the defender would scoop up a fumble and run through a gauntlet of players trying to jar it loose.
The Rams will sit through meetings before the next practice which is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. McElwain said the guys will be in shells and they will use the practice under the lights to work on game situations.
Fall Camp Notebook
Saturday's scrimmage: The Rams will have a closed scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 11. McElwain said it will feature 125 plays and it will be a lot like scrimmages from spring.
"We'll concentrate and focus on a couple situation areas that were an Achilles heel for this team," McElwain said. "Everybody will play and we'll see what they put on film."
Coaches in the booth: McElwain didn't say what coaches would be in the booth on Saturdays but he said the second and third scrimmages of fall will operate with coaches in the booth and on the field.
McElwain also joked, "I'm thinking at the end of the year, if it gets really cold, I'll be up there (laughing)."
Kicking competition: McElwain formally announced the first position competition of fall camp. The spot for field goal and place kicking is up for grabs and it is a two-man competition between walk-on Jared Roberts and true freshman Keenan Adams.
"I'm kind of happy. It looks like we are going to have ourselves a little battle," McElwain said. "I think that only makes you stronger."
The Rams might also feature an aspect of the kicking game that Ram fans haven't seen in years; a different kicker for short and long distance kicks.
Importance of special teams: "Being a former special teams coordinator and understanding where the hidden yardage is, that doesn't show up in the box score but it really shows up in the win/loss column, I know the importance of getting the right guys on the field," McElwain said.
"One thing I stressed to them during spring ball is `you're a starter on special teams before you are ever a starter on offense or defense.' So they have to understanding that the importance of (special teams) is as important as me doing whatever on the other side of the ball."
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