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Follow along with Joshua Fraley's Ohio Football Update

My name is Joshua Fraley, an Ohio University senior, and I am the eye in the sky for your Ohio University Bobcats. 

I have spent the past few seasons with the Bobcats as the film assistant responsible for recording all the action at practices as well as on game days.  I am originally from the Columbus area and enjoy all aspects of sport. 

Through this daily blog you will find unique information about the Bobcats, their progress throughout fall camp, as well as some details about my personal experience with the Bobcats.  I hope you are as excited as I am for the upcoming Bobcat football season just around the corner, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me at JF271307@ohio.edu.  Go Bobcats!   

Practice #29

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Bobcats were fortunate enough to stay dry during practice today.  We had a pop up shower just before practice this morning.  During practice the clouds kept the sun off the player’s backs making today’s light practice pleasant for everyone involved.

This morning I filmed practice from the elevated lift on the south side of Peden.  The small blue lift is located right in front of the scoreboard providing a great end zone view of the defensive side of practice.  Today’s practice was set up the exact same way as yesterdays.  The practice was shortened and the Bobcats didn’t spend any time with individual drills. 

The first thing I was responsible for filming during practice was defensive 7-on-7.  It included our starting defense and the scout offense.  The defense looked as if they had seen these offensive looks a million times.  The Bobcats are ready to play.  During the light session I took note of Ian Wells and Jamil Shaw both getting interceptions.  Lastly, Xavier Hughes picked off the offense twice.       

Team practice was conducted the same way as yesterday’s practice.  The Bobcats were concentrated on observing and studying the offensive plays the scout team ran for the defense.  A lot of the plays the defense saw were runs and a couple varieties of screen plays.  From observing the defense practicing this week I expect to see a screen play or two from the Aggies this weekend.  Today I saw defensive lineman Nic Barber with an interception on an attempted screen.  Xavier Hughes was in the right spot a lot during practice today. I saw him pick off another pass today.  

The Bobcats will spend the rest of the day preparing for this weekend with a couple of scheduled meetings.  The Bobcats will then have a long day of travel that starts Friday morning. 

This update will conclude the fall camp blog.  Thank you so much for reading and keeping up to date on Ohio Football.  I have truly enjoyed this once in a lifetime experience and I hope you as a reader benefitted from these updates in some way.  Support the Bobcats and make sure to watch them kick off their season against New Mexico State this Saturday.  Tickets for all home games are being sold at this time as well.  Don’t miss out on the experience.  Get your season tickets now.  Thanks again for reading.  Go Bobcats!    

Practice #28

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

This afternoon’s weather was cloudy and humid for practice.  The Bobcats came onto the turf of Peden equipped with just their helmets and shorts.  This afternoon’s practice was structured a little differently than the previous two practices this week.  Today’s practice was shorter as the players did not spend any time with individual drills and it ended with special teams instead of team practice.  There was not a lot of noise heard from the turf today.  The Bobcats were very focused during the light practice.

I spent most of my time filming the defensive side of practice today.  I captured the sideline view from the top of Peden tower.  The very first part of practice I was responsible for filming was 7-on-7; the defensive side of the field.  It was at this time I noticed the players were not practicing with the same intensity as they have been all camp.  Coaches stressed to the receivers to avoid contact with defenders and the players were not running as hard as they have been.  The light practices in helmets will ensure that our players are well rested and ready to play on Saturday.  Defensively, I took note of Noah Keller, Nathan Carpenter, and Ryan Clark getting interceptions.

Team practice was conducted in the same fashion.  The players were more concentrated on mentally preparing for the game rather than making the athletic plays.  The offense communicated well with coaches on the sidelines and all the plays went smoothly.  I filmed mostly the defensive side of practice and noticed them doing a great job against the scout team offense.  The defense was reacting quickly to all the offensive plays the scout team showed them and they looked eager to play on Saturday.  One big play I saw from the offense during this time was a pass from Ronnie Bell.  He found some time inside the pocket and threw to Chase Cochran for a touchdown deep in the middle of the end zone. 

The Bobcats will have one more practice to prepare for their season opener.  The practice is scheduled to be held tomorrow morning inside Peden Stadium.  I hope you are as excited as I am for the Bobcats to get their season started.  After spending so much time with the Bobcats I am expecting nothing but positive results for the upcoming season.  Thank you so much for the continuous and gracious support.  Check in tomorrow for this week’s last update on your Ohio Bobcats.       

Practice #27

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Clear skies in Athens, Ohio made the middle of the afternoon hot today.  This afternoon’s practice closely imitated yesterday’s practice.  The practice was set up in a similar fashion and held at the same time.  One of the few exceptions about this practice was that it was a couple periods shorter.  The players stepped out onto the turf wearing shoulder pads, helmets, and shorts.  It was at this time I realized the turf was recently raked to make it look much more professional. 

I once again filmed the sideline view of practice from the roof of Peden.  One of the first things we filmed was the wide receivers during the periods assigned for individual drills.  During individual drills I noticed how vocal the Bobcats were today.  From the roof I could hear many different players through out practice.  Every coach could be heard from the roof at least today once as well.  The Bobcats practiced with a lot of energy and emotion today.  Everyone at the stadium is anxious and itching to play this weekend.  The atmosphere at Peden has been getting more and more intense as game day gets closer.

After the punt team and kickoff return teams were done getting reps in with the scouts the Bobcats took the field for 7-on-7.  I wasn’t able to catch the first team offense because I was filming the linemen during their pass rush drill.  The defensive linemen were very explosive during this time in practice.  The first plays I observed for 7-on-7 were between the first team defense and the scout team offense.  The defense did an excellent job of covering the receivers.  The majority of the completions were on the receivers’ short bench, drag, and stop routes.  Octavius Leftwich and Mose Denton both had interceptions.  The offense bounced back and ended with Ronnie Bell and Ian Dixon connecting in the middle of the end zone for a touchdown. 

The Bobcats assigned a lot of periods to team drills today.  The first session involved one group on the field.  The lone group on the field included the first team offense and the scout defense.  The offense was unstoppable during this time in practice.  Tyler Tettleton completed all three of his passes before the coaches switched the quarterback.  The next quarterback that saw time with the offense was Phil Bates.  He completed a long pass to Jerry Gross that I was impressed with.  On this specific play the offense set up an option but Phil moved to the right.  He chopped his feet, found his receiver cutting across the middle of the field, stepped into his throw, and threw a spiral right on target just beyond both the defenders reach.  It was exciting to see Phil practicing again as a quarterback.  As of late, Phil has been taking some days off during practice and has also been spending time catching passes with the receivers during practice.  With these three factors in affect it is hard to conclude where the coaches will have him positioned on the field on game day.

The defense did a great job during team practice today.  They jumped on every running play our scout offense showed them and also made a number of thrilling plays.  Linebacker Keith Moore scooped up a fumble for the defense to start the defensive show.  Corey Hasting kept the excitement going with an interception from just outside of the pocket at the line of scrimmage.  The interception didn’t come from a tipped ball so I am not too entirely sure how he came up with it.  Either way it is always entertaining to see one of the biggest guys on the field giving his opponents a stiff arm.  The defensive backs had their fair share of interceptions as well.  Ryan Clark and Mose Denton both had a pick toward the end of team practice this afternoon. 

The Bobcats continue the action tomorrow afternoon at Peden with another practice preparing for their first game at New Mexico State.  Tomorrow’s practice will be the last afternoon practice of fall camp.  The Bobcats have a morning practice scheduled for Thursday which will be the last practice before the Bobcats get on the plane for New Mexico State.  Game Day is right around the corner.  Check in soon for your next update on the Bobcats as they prepare for New Mexico State.  Thanks for reading Bobcats.                  

Practice #26

Monday, August 28, 2011

The Bobcats had practice today in the middle of the afternoon rather than their regular scheduled time in the morning.  The players will continue to practice in the middle of the afternoon this week to prepare themselves for their season opener against New Mexico State this Saturday evening.  Today was also the day freshmen and sophomores moved out of their conveniently located football dorms and moved into the dorms they are assigned for fall quarter of school.  Bobcat Football is yet another step closer and will be here before we know it!

This afternoon the Bobcats hit the turf under a sky full of clouds. Partly cloudy days like this are truly unique in Athens, Ohio.  The clouds can be seen providing shade to the green, full, rolling, hills that surround Ohio University campus as they pass by.

Today marked the first day the Bobcats conducted a game week practice.  In the previous weeks the coaches evaluated players for the depth chart and the Bobcats mastered their offensive playbook and defensive coverages.  From here until the end of the season the Bobcats will stray from this type of work and use the time designated for practice to prepare for their upcoming opponents.

This afternoon during practice I was the third man helping out on the roof of Peden.  A third man is usually necessary on the roof considering we have two cameras rolling and a couple computers up there to work with as well.  The sideline view of practice also makes it easier for me to get a good look at both the offensive and defensive side of the field.

After the players warmed up with a pre-practice, ten-minute stretch period, and individual drills I began to film the wide receivers and defensive backs during their one-on-ones.  Today, coaches set up this time in practice a little differently than usual.  Usually the receivers work on their starts against the defensive backs or the receivers run routes against the defensive backs with the quarterbacks.  Today the groups rehearsed both of these drills in practice.  Defensive back Travis Carrie started with an interception in the corner of the end zone.  Tyler Futrell had two catches and Stephane N’goumou made a very athletic catch in the end zone as well.  Routes with the quarterbacks were held at the five yard line today making most of the plays in the end zone.

During 7-on-7 the offense spread the ball to many different receivers but the defense would not allow these targets to complete many long passes near the end zone.  Receiver Landon Smith had two catches during the main session, including one down the sidelines that looked close to a touchdown.  The defense made exciting plays as well.  Safety Nathan Carpenter jumped on a tipped ball close to the line of scrimmage for an interception.  I took note of linebacker Keith Moore getting an interception as well.  The defense did a great job of covering receivers downfield and making them work for every completion they had this afternoon. 

During game week practices the Bobcats do a lot of different variations of team practice.  They have some periods that are assigned specifically for first-and-ten, third down plays, first defense against the first offense, and the first offense against the second team defense on one half of the field while the first team defense is working with the scout team offense.  There is so much more detail that is going into team practices and it is hard for me to catch everything.  From what I saw the defense had a majority of the exciting play today.  This may be because the offense ran a lot of running plays today and I spent the majority of my time filming the defensive side of the field instead of the offenses.

While the first team defense was working with the scout offense I took note of the many turnovers the defense came up with.  Xavier Hughes, Josh Kristoff, and Omar Leftwich, all had interceptions during team practice.  The defensive line had a big day on the turf as well.  Tremayne Scott and Corey Hastings both scooped up fumbles today during team and I believe both of the fumble recoveries were behind the offenses line of scrimmage. 

It is awesome seeing the Bobcats switching gears today and rehearsing practice in a different way to prepare for New Mexico State.  The scout offense did a great job giving offensive looks for our defense during team and the offense polished a lot of minor details as well.  I am very excited to watch the Bobcats prepare themselves for the season opener.  I hope everyone that made it out to the Ox Roast enjoyed themselves.  Thank you so much for the continuous support.  Keep checking in with us Bobcat fans for another update on your Ohio Bobcats!

Practice #25

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Bobcats came out onto the field today dressed in full pads.  They looked official. This is the first day I have seen them out with the decals on their helmet.  I do not know if they have their numbers on the helmet yet but they do have the two green stripes going down the middle of the helmet along with the green bold Ohio logo on each side.  There were people from the athletic department setting up various supplies for the Ox Roast right beneath me during practice as well. 

This morning was beautiful in Athens, Ohio and it should stay sunny for the rest of the day.  I abandon my usual filming spot from river end zone and filmed from the north end zone today.  The north half of the field is the where the offense does most of their work.  Practice was 24 periods long with a short scrimmage between the third team defense and offense. The coaches really made the players work hard and earn their day off that is scheduled tomorrow.  It was a long practice but it was exciting to see the Bobcats run some full contact plays at the end.

Practice started normally today with individual drills, followed by special teams.  Special teams included regular kickoffs as well as some onside kicks.  The onside kicks were different today.  Yesterday the kickoff return team was working on recovering Matt Weller’s kicks whereas today it was the kickoff team that was recovering the kicks.

I filmed the first team offense today during 7-on-7.  The offense did a great job of completing their passes.  Riley Dunlop had a couple catches as well as Jerry Gross.  Jerry caught one in the corner of the end zone but defenders on the sidelines signaled he was out of bounds.  I thought he had his feet in bounds but the play is on film if conformation really needs to be made.  Defensively, Octavius Leftwich caused problems for the offense.  He swatted a pass incomplete, smacked one out of one of our receiver’s hands as he was bringing in a pass, and even came up with an interception.  What a day for Octavius. 

During the many periods designated for team practice I was able to get a good look at the starting offense.  Tyler Tettleton had a good day. One of his favorite targets today was receiver LaVon BrazillDonte Foster had a couple catches including one in the back corner of the end zone.  I also saw Jordan Thompson with a catch today.  It was simply your everyday tight end route in the flats but it was pleasing to see one of our leaders back on the field making a play.  He is healthy. The coaches have just been using him sparingly through out camp.  Defensively, Carl Jones and Nathan Carpenter had awesome plays.  Carl got vertical on one play and smacked down a pass in the pocket with some authority.  He came down hard on the ball with both hands.  Safety Nathan Carpenter also tipped a pass incomplete.  I thought Nate made a heads up play.  The offense was setting up a bubble screen and he got a hand on the pass as he was blitzing the quarterback from outside of the tackle box. 

The short scrimmage was exciting as there was a lot of thrilling plays.  The offense found a way to get into the end zone once.  Ronnie Bell launched a pass high into the air and Landon Smith was able to bring it in.  He out ran the last defender after the catch and was in the end zone all alone.  He was shortly greeted by many of his excited teammates with chest bumps in the air and celebratory shouts from more Bobcats.  The other exciting plays came from the defense.  They came up with two turnovers, a fumble recovery and an interception.  The interception came from a tipped pass off of a receiver.  Craig Luburgh came down with the tipped ball and made it back to the line of scrimmage only to be brought down by David Fulcher.  It was awesome to see the young running back switch gears on the field, not give up on the play, and bring down the big line backer.  One of the last plays resulted in a fumble.  The defense popped the ball out of our running back’s arm and after a bounce or two on the turf Devin Bass came up with the loose ball. 

I enjoyed watching the scrimmage.  I didn’t expect to see the Bobcats doing anything that involved full contact today.  I liked what I saw from our young guys.  Tonight the Bobcats will be attending the Ox Roast that will be held at Peden Stadium.  After the roast, players and staff will enjoy a day off tomorrow.  The season opener is less than one week away.  I hope fans are just as excited about game day as all the Bobcats are.  We have been practicing hard for a long time and both players and staff are anxious to get things started.  I am sure this impatience and eager mentality will be in full effect next week since the Bobcats will be conducting their first game week practices of the year.  Next week’s practices will be exciting and I will keep you updated on all of them. 

Bobcat fans join us tonight at Peden for the Ox Roast.  The gates of Peden open for fans at five this evening and dinner will be served at six.  Thank you so much for the support.  Have a great weekend and go Bobcats!   

Practice #24

Friday, August 26, 2011

There was not a cloud in sight this morning when I walked out of the tower of Peden for practice.  I was responsible for filming the defense on the south side of the turf.  From my lift I had a great view of not only the field but the Hocking River as well.  I noticed the water level of the river was very high. I have not seen the river this full since the spring when Athens had so much rain.

The players came out onto the turf wearing no pads, equipped with just their helmets.  This was fortunate for the Bobcats considering the morning sun made the day hot quickly.  The first thing I filmed today was the linebackers during “stations.”  The defensive stations only last one period and consist of four drills. The defense splits up by their individual positions: linebackers, linemen, safeties, and cornerbacks.  Each group spends a couple of minutes at each station working on footwork, reads, recovering fumbles, stripping the football.  This part of practice is different because I feel as if these are the only drills that every defensive position is exposed to.  Once this period expired I spend the rest of the individual periods filming the safeties with Coach Burrow.

During special teams the Bobcats sent out their punt team and kickoff return team.  The Bobcats worked on recovering onside kicks during kickoff return.  The kicks were entertaining to watch, Matt Weller knows how to get the ball rotating in a rather odd and bizarre way.  Despite the wild kicks, our hands team was able to get control of the ball and fall on it. 

During offensive 7-on-7 the starting offense completed a lot of passes.  They hit a variety of different routes in many different areas of the field but did not throw one into the end zone.  The offense did not allow an interception either.  In fact I do not recall the defense getting an interception.  Keep in mind there are some times two groups are on the field at a time so I do not know if a defender caught one on the offensive side of the field while I was filming the defense.  While the scout team offense was running plays against our defense, Chase Cochran was able to find a way to bring in a forty yard touchdown pass thrown by Ronnie Bell.

The first session of team practice saw the starting offense run plays against our second team defense.  Tyler Tettleton surprised the defense early with a long pass to Donte Foster.  The play’s result was touchdown considering Donte made it past his defender before the catch.  Tettleton completed all of his passes during this session.  Our second team and scout team offense made a couple more big plays before the conclusion of practice.  In fact I saw the best catch I have seen from a Bobcat all year today during team practice.  It was a catch from Ryan Hammonds, and I wish I remember which quarterback threw the awesome pass, most likely one of our younger quarterbacks Ronnie Bell or Derrius Vick.  On this specific play, Ryan came from out of the backfield and ran a straight route directed for the end zone on the right side of the field.  He hardly had any separation from the defensive back covering him and was able to make a one handed grab right at the end zone.  The pass was barely over the defenders hand and with one fluid swing of Ryan’s right arm, his palm found the nose of the ball and the next thing you saw was the ball cradled in his arm as he was decelerating in the end zone.  I still do not understand how one could even handle the spin of the ball from a forty yard pass with just one hand and maintain possession of the ball as well.  It was truly an outstanding catch. Ryan was running at full speed, a couple of inches off the ground, and had full extension.  Everyone that saw the catch got excited about it.  One of the very last plays of practice was a great catch from Ian Dixon.  Quarterback Ronnie Bell connected with him on a fade route for a touchdown.

Today was a very normal day at practice.  The transition from camp practice to game week practice looks as if it is already happened for the team.  The Bobcats will take a break from one of their regularly scheduled meetings this afternoon to go out and see a movie.  The Bobcats continue practice tomorrow early tomorrow morning at nine. 

Tomorrow is also the Bobcats annual Ox Roast.  The field hockey team, cross country team, and cheerleading team will be attending as well as the football team.  Coaches and players will all be available for pictures and autographs.  There will also be games and other interactive stations for fans of all ages.  The gates open for fans at 5 P.M. and dinner will be served promptly at 6 P.M.  For all questions, seat reservations, and additional information visit the Ohio Athletics webpage or feel free to call the athletics marketing office at (740) 593-1168.  Admission is free!  See ya there!    

Practice #23

Thursday, August 25, 2011

This morning I filmed practice from the south side of the field, the side closest to the Hocking River.  The river was very murky this morning considering Athens had a lot of rain in the early hours of the morning.  Luckily for the Bobcats, the rain stopped right before pre-practice and a blanket of clouds stuck around keeping the morning cool.

The players came out onto the wet turf dressed in full pads prepared for a long practice.  From the defensive side of the field the first thing I filmed was the linebackers during their individual drills.  They spent time discussing and acting out their ever changing gap assignments and while dropping back into coverage practicing their reads on the quarterback.  

The Bobcats then switched gears for inside and one-on-ones at the five yard line today.  As I was filming I thought the receivers were dominant.  I usually expect this from our receivers; it is difficult for defensive backs to compete with a receiver working together with our talented quarterbacks. This is simply because any receiver can get open after a while but the quarterbacks stay true to the drill and get the ball out of their hands in a timely fashion.  The most exciting catch came from Jerry Gross.  Jerry had to jump in the air and turn around for the ball all while wrestling with the defensive back but he stuck with it and came down with the catch in the back corner of the end zone.  The defensive back knew he did everything he could on the play and acknowledged Jerry’s athletic catch, complimenting him with the routine helmet smack we have all seen before from players and coaches. 

I could tell practice was going to run a little differently this morning once the Bobcats took the field for 7-on-7.  Instead of having just one offensive and one defensive group getting reps on the field, the field was split in half.  When the field is split like this the offense works on what they need to and the defense does the same on the other half.  The defense spends a lot of time defending plays that they will likely see from their upcoming opponents.  These unfamiliar plays are executed by our scout team offense every week during the season.  This set up for practice is how the Bobcats will most likely conduct practice until the end of the season. 

When the first team offense was running plays they were consistently in the air and kept the ball out of defenders hands.  From what I observed, Riley Dunlop had three catches during this session and freshman Landon Smith was a popular target as well.  When the defense was working against the scout team offense, safety Xavier Hughes came up with an interception.

Team practice was also done a little differently today as well.  Coaches looked at the first team offense against the first team defense and then split the field in half so the starting offense took reps against the second team defense and the first team defense went against the scout team offense.  When the starters were on the field, the offense had a couple of big plays.  On one play, Gross made another great catch in the end zone.  Toward the end of team practice running back Kyle Hammonds snuck past the defense from out of the backfield and found a lot of room to run after catching a pass in the flats. 

When I was filming the defense and scout offense during team the defense kept the offense quiet.  The defense reacted quickly to the run and didn’t let the offense get into the end zone.  Defenders Nathan Carpenter and Omar Leftwich both had interceptions to end the morning practice.

The drastic change in the Bobcats practice routine is another step closer to this season’s opening kickoff.  The Bobcats will spend the rest of their day busy with meetings and an afternoon walk through on the turf.  They will be on the turf again tomorrow morning for another long practice.  Don’t forget that this Saturday is the Bobcats annual Ox Roast.  The gates of Peden will be open for fans at 5:00 P.M., approximately one hour before the main festivities begin.  I will include more information about this in tomorrow’s post, as of right now I am just making sure people are aware of the event.  Check in with us then, Go Bobcats!

Practice #22

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Bobcats came into the turf at dusk this evening under the stadium lights of Peden Stadium.  The players were equipped with just their helmets for their shortened practice.  The weather was perfect for everyone at work tonight.

I decided to film from the roof of Peden.  This high vantage point gave me a great sideline view of practice as well as a great view of the sun setting behind us as the players were getting warmed up for practice.  The players did not spend a lot of time during individual drills; a lot of practice time was dedicated to special teams.

The punt team came onto the field first to simulate punts.  The punt team also spent some time working on fakes, which we haven’t seen a lot of this year. The Bobcats then sent out their kickoff return team broken up into two or three groups to imitate their blocking assignments.  The kickoff team showed the coaches some different material this evening as well with onside kicks, short kicks, and a couple regular kickoffs.  The field goal unit also got some time on the field today, just like every practice.  While kicking extra points Matt Weller kicked one over the brick wall that surrounds the north side of Peden and it bounced all the way across South Green Street.  He didn’t stop there; he and freshman Josiah Yazdani both split the uprights from over fifty yards away tonight.

The offense did a great job during 7-on-7.  The quarterbacks were on target and the receivers were consistent with their hands when they found open ground.  Donte Foster saw a lot of action with three catches.  I felt as if the quarterbacks were tucking the ball more tonight making sure they didn’t give the defense an easy pick but Thad Ingol snagged one in the end zone and the other was brought in by Gerald Moore on a tipped ball.  The offense closed with a touchdown pass from Tettleton to Chris Johann.

During team practice the Bobcats did a lot of things differently.  I am pretty sure the second team offense was imitating another team’s formations at one point and the first team offense closed practice with a two minute drill.  Offensively, Tettleton found running back Beau Blankenship on a long pass down the sidelines.  Defensively, Omar Leftwich had a great day. He knocked down a pass during team and caused two more incompletions for the offense.  The two minute drill ended with Kyle Snyder breaking loose toward the end zone.  The offense ran an option directed toward the left side of the field and Kyle made a great read on the defensive end and cut straight for the end zone nearly forty yards away.  The players were without pads and it was the quarterback running the ball but I feel this running play could have resulted in a touchdown if it was a live play because of how much open field Kyle found.

Tonight marked the very last day of two-a-day practices.  Opening kickoff is one step closer for the Bobcats.  The Bobcats will continue their hard work tomorrow morning for a long practice on the turf tomorrow.  Check in with us then for your next update.  Go Bobcats!     

Practice #21

This morning’s weather made things unusual for the Bobcats today.  The lights at Peden were even turned on for practice because the clouds were so dark and ominous this morning.  As the players and staff were preparing for practice we experienced many lightning strikes accompanied with loud booming cracks of thunder.  This severe weather pushed practice back for over an hour.  The wait was well worth it considering the clouds floated on by and gave us blue skies and a light breeze through practice.

After the delay, players filed into the cool turf equipped in full pads.  Coaches disregarded the delay and did not shorten practice at all, making this morning’s practice eighteen periods.  I came out onto the turf prepared with rain gear and my equipment to film practice from the north side of Peden atop the lift.

Practice was organized and carried out just like any other normal practice we have had this summer.  When individual drills concluded the Bobcats worked on special teams.  During this time the kickoff and kickoff return team worked on blocking.  The exercise included someone from the kickoff team trying to pursue and reach a tackling dummy while someone from the kickoff return team blocked them.

During 7-on-7 the defense worked hard, making the offense’s job difficult.  The defensive backs did a great job of covering the receivers.  Riley Dunlop and Jerry Gross were the only receivers that were targeted by quarterbacks for the first eight plays.  The tight ends, Zac Clark and Derek Roback, however were able to slip past the defense for a couple touchdown catches.  Near the end of 7-on-7 freshmen Ronnie Bell and Landon Smith shocked the defense, connecting on two touchdown passes in the red zone. 

The defense kept the offense working hard for every yard they gained during team practice.  Corey Hasting, Carl Jones, and a couple other defensive linemen were able to get to the quarterback for a sack.  Eric Price got a hand up and tipped a pass incomplete from within the pocket as well. The defensive backs also swatted down many passes and even had a couple of interceptions.  Omar Leftwich got a pick after jumping on a route in the flats and Travis Carrie picked one off in the end zone thanks to some help from his fellow defenders. As soon as the quarterback cocked his arm back to throw the quick pass nearly every defender on the sidelines yelled out “Ball!”  Travis was able to react quickly to the defenses call, turn his body all the way around, and make an athletic play on the ball before going out of bounds. 

It was very exciting to see the defense be vocal and communicate this well on the field.  It is never too early to get into this great habit and I have been noticing the players exercising this during practice.  Only positive outcomes can arise from everyone working together and striving to reach the same objective.  Keep up the exceptional teamwork Bobcats! 

The Bobcats will have a busy afternoon before hitting the turf one more time this evening.  Usually when the Bobcats have their second practice of the day it is scheduled for the middle of the afternoon but our last two-a-day practice will be held at 7:30 P.M. tonight.  Perhaps the lights on the stadium will be used for the evening practice as well.  Thanks for reading.                                     

Practice #20

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Athens, Ohio provided clear skies for the Bobcats this morning as they hit the turf in full pads for their only practice of the day.  On days that the Bobcats only have one practice, the coaches and players have a position meeting before everything starts as well as an afternoon walkthrough on the turf.  Simply stated, just because the Bobcats only had one early morning practice today, their day isn’t any less exhausting.  By the time the players are done with all of their meetings and lifting sessions they will have logged a twelve-hour day.  This is a normal day in the life of a Bobcat during fall camp.

This morning I filmed practice high upon a scissor lift located just behind the goalposts on the north side of the stadium.  The north side of the stadium is the side closest to South Green Street.  This half of the field is also where the offense does most of their work.  At the beginning of practice I got the chance to watch Coach Albin work with the running backs during individual drills.  They spent probably half their time practicing their footwork and the other half working on drills that emphasized ball security.  Coach Albin stays positive, pushes, and encourages his running backs daily. This reflects how the running backs perform during individual drills considering they work hard every day in the drills that Coach Albin assigns them.

From the offensive side of the field I was able to watch the linemen during the inside drill. This is what the rest of the team is doing while the receivers and defensive backs are working against each other.  The inside drill consists of various running plays and provides coaches with a good view and outlook as to what the line is doing on each play individually.  From my view the offensive linemen were doing their job and doing it well.  When the offense called for an outside sweep, the linemen burst out of their stance in unison and charged together creating a wall that our speedy running backs could run past.  On inside running plays I noticed the holes the offense created in the defense were very visible and lasted long enough for our backs to squeeze past them.  The linemen made all of our running backs look good during this drill and kept it going throughout the entire practice this morning.

The linemen then left the offensive side of the field and the receivers joined the running backs and other quarterbacks for some periods assigned for 7-on-7.  The offense kept their momentum going from yesterday and was able to complete a high percentage of their passes today.  Tyler Tettleton started things off by completing five of his first seven passes.  All five of his completions came from different receivers.  The ball got spread around a lot as I recorded a catch from a dozen different targets.  It is comforting to know we have some depth out there and that there are many Bobcats able to contribute positively to the rest of the team whether they are on the staring squad or not.  Defensively, Josh Kristoff was able to find a way to bring in a hard pass in the end zone for a pick.

Upon the closure of practice, the linemen came back to join the rest of the offense and defense for team practice.  The defensive linemen were able to help out the secondary giving the defense a good day during team practice.  Offensively, I saw Donte Foster with a couple catches.  I also took note of Tyler Futrell catching one in the end zone.  The offensive linemen looked great during team practice as well. 

The defense started their exciting team practice session with a sack from Brian Albrecht.  Cornerback Mose Denton also found a way to sack the quarterback on a blitz from the outside.  The defense was able to swat some passes out of the air for incompletions as well.  Linebacker Jelani Woseley was able to smack a pass down from inside the pocket on one play.  The offense had a couple more incompletions thanks to Xavier Hughes and Omar Leftwich making athletic plays on the ball.  Young cornerback Devin Bass had an interception in the end zone. The defense came up with two more interceptions during team practice, both from safety Nathan Carpenter.  His second pick was very impressive. He read the quarterback and jumped on the receiver’s short route and took off hastily in the opposite direction.  I am convinced it would have been a pick-six if this was a live play. 

The Bobcats had a very efficient day on the turf this morning.  The players came out with a high amount of energy today.  The Bobcats will continue their day and undergo two more practices tomorrow.  This has to bring forth some kind of bittersweet appreciation from players considering tomorrow is the very last day of two-a-days. Thank you for your continual support and keep checking in with us for more daily updates on your Ohio University Bobcats.  

Practice #19

Monday, August 22, 2011

Today was an all-around beautiful day in Athens, Ohio.  For the afternoon practice we were accompanied by a nice breeze and a sky full of white clouds rolling by.  The afternoon practice was only about an hour long and the players were practicing in their helmets and shorts. 

Practice was held on the grass field located right next the players usual practice venue, Peden Stadium.  Nearly all Ohio University athletic facilities are located in the same area on campus and are all within a close proximity of each other.  This is truly a luxury to have at Ohio University considering there are campuses out there that have to provide bus transportation to some of their very own facilities.  The grass practice field’s location is so accessible to the coaches and players; they do not have to change up any of their usual practice preparations.  The only personnel that needs to do any major adjustments is the equipment crew since they must transport various equipment needed for practice such as footballs and body pads.  The equipment guys do a great job with this change in our practice routine, thanks to them the transition to grass practices always go smoothly.

This afternoon I filmed from atop our platform lift with one other individual on the film staff.  We were spotted at the fifty yard line positioned to film a sideline view of practice.  Today’s short practice only included ten minutes of individual drills. We spent more than twice as long working on special teams today.  During the periods assigned for special teams the coaches saw simulations from the punt, punt return, kickoff, and kickoff return teams.  The field goal unit was also out on the field towards the end of practice as well.

After the special team periods expired the offense was ready to begin at midfield.  The offense, not pleased with their performance this afternoon, came out on fire.  Tyler Tettleton got the offense started and was unstoppable.  Tyler completed all five of his first five passes.  Receivers LaVon Brazill, Donte Foster, and running back Donte Harden helped Tyler accomplish this impressive stat.  Brazill and Foster were dependable as they each had three or more catches.  Near the closure of practice, the defense bounced back with a pick from Thad Ingol

The linemen then joined with the rest of the offense and defensive athletes for an exciting session.  The offense kept their focus and stayed sharp during team practice.  The offense opened up with a successful option on the right from Tettleton toDonte Harden.  Tyler kept the offense moving with passes to tight end Zac Clark and Riley Dunlop.  This was the first catch we have seen from Riley during team practice in a while considering coaches are using him sparingly and he did not practice much last week.  Quarterback Ronnie Bell had a great day with the offense this afternoon as well.  He completed all of his passes and even threw a long touchdown pass to Chase Cochran running a streak down the right side of the field.  We ended with the defense surprising the offense with a pick in the end zone.  The pick was caught in traffic by Devin Jones.

It was impressive to see the offense transform this afternoon into a finely tuned machine.  They looked great through out the entire duration of the afternoon practice.  I saw positive things from every quarterback this afternoon as well.  The Bobcats continue the action on the turf tomorrow shortly after their scheduled morning positions meeting.  Keep checking in with us for the latest news on your Ohio Bobcats.   

Practice #18

A still and sunny morning welcomed the Bobcats on the turf of Peden today for their first practice of the week.  After enjoying their first day off on Sunday the team came out dressed in full pads.  I observed and filmed this morning from the roof of Peden giving me a high sideline view of practice.

During special teams the punt team simulated punts from different spots on the field.  They started the punt session with the ball spotted back inside the three-yard line and continued to move the ball forward until they were snapping the ball from midfield.

While the offense ran 7-on-7’s the defense only allowed one score.  This is impressive from the defense considering the offense was snapping the ball from inside the red zone during this time in practice.  I was also able to look at the offensive and defensive linemen work against each other on their pass rush drill.  From what I saw, the offensive linemen were dominant today during these periods in practice.

The defense was superior during team practice.  They limited the offense to only a couple of scores toward the end of practice.  The first play opened up with defensive end Curtis Meyers knocking down a pass directed for a receiver running toward the sidelines.  The defense kept their momentum going with a couple of interceptions from Travis Carrie and Jamil Shaw.  Jamil’s quick read on the ball gave him the opportunity to pick it off only a couple yards from the line of scrimmage resulting in an easy touchdown for the defense.  The offensive touchdowns that were mentioned earlier were passes from Tyler Tettleton from inside the red zone.  LaVon Brazill and tight end Zac Clark were the players on the receiving end of the touchdown passes.

The coaches will host a couple of scheduled meetings after lunch with players before having their second practice of the day.  If the weather stays nice, practice will be conducted on the grass field this afternoon.                

Practice #17

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The sun was out this morning making weather conditions hot for players and fans for the scrimmage today.  Thank you to all the fans that came out today to support the Bobcats in the heat.

I filmed the scrimmage from atop a raised platform lift on the south side of the stadium today right in front of the main score board.  The format of this mornings scrimmage imitated the scrimmage the Bobcats had on Tuesday.  The first team offense ran plays against the second team defense, the second team offense ran against the first team defense, and the third team offense and defense ran plays against each other.

The players warmed up with a ten minute pre-practice, a stretch period, individual drills and a brief walkthrough.  Once the players were warmed up, the scrimmage began with a couple of simulated punts.  After the punt team left the field, Tyler Tettleton and the rest of the first team offense marched onto the turf to try their luck against the second team defense. 

Tyler opened up the scrimmage by completing a pass to LaVon Brazill who was running a slant route.  Tyler later found Donte Foster on a slant route as well, later in the scrimmage.  I noticed the quarterbacks and receivers connecting on the slant route many times today.  Tyler had one more big pass today.  He completed one down the sidelines to Jerry Gross.  Jerry caught the ball in midair and made a great play, his athletic play made the offense get on their feet. 

Kyle Snyder and the second team offense surprised the first team defense with a couple of big plays.  Kyle had a couple completions as well as two scrambles out of the pocket that both resulted in huge gains for the offense.  Another couple of big gains on the ground came from running back Beau Blankenship.  While running with the first team offense, Beau had a big run to the right side of the field.  The very next play the offense gave it back to Beau and he was able to shake a defender in the secondary and immediately sprint for the corner of the end zone.  After a long pursuit, the corner back from the opposite side of the field, Devin Bass, was able to bring Beau down at the two yard line.  Beau made a great move to gain extra yards for the offense and Devin made a great open field tackle on the play as well.  It was awesome to see the defender not give up on the play and hustle to the ball until the whistle was blown.

Devin's stop at the two yard line kept the offense scoreless this morning, considering the defense was able to hold their ground in the goal line situation after the huge gain from Beau.  The offense had many great plays ending in huge gains but could not find a way to get the ball into the end zone.  One thing I saw from the offense that I liked was the decisions from the quarterbacks.  There might have been a couple of plays that the ball was in the pocket for too long but once our quarterbacks found some open room outside of the tackle box they made the right decision with the ball, whether it was to tuck the ball, pass it, or throw it away.       

The Bobcats were very excited at the end of practice again thanks to our field goal unit.  Coaches backed up Matt Weller and the rest of the specialists for more sixty yard field goals.  It was great to see practice end on such a high note after the scrimmage.  Coaches walked off the field seeing positive things from both the offensive and defensive squads today. 

Ohio Football will have a day of rest tomorrow.  This is the first day the Bobcats have had off since the very first day of camp.  Check in with us on Monday for the next update on your Ohio Bobcats! 

Practice #16

Friday, August 19, 2011

Favorable weather conditions allowed the Bobcats to conduct practice on the grass practice field.  The players came out on the field dressed in their helmets and shorts ready for a shortened practice.  This afternoon's practice was the shortest the Bobcats have had since the first day of camp. 

I avoided climbing the scaffold behind the goalpost and was able to film practice atop a platform lift set up on the fifty yard line for the sideline view of practice.  Filming from the scaffolds is a stressful task because you have to climb up the side of it then you have to pull all of your equipment up with a rope. Coming down isn't any easier.

From atop the comforting scissor lift I began filming practice during individual position drills.  I filmed the wide receivers working with Coach Dixon right beneath me.  Individual drills were actually rather entertaining to film today simply because I could hear everything that was going on.  Coach Dixon wanted perfect concentration and flawless execution from the receivers that attempted his drills.  Receivers experienced some frustration in one drill designed for them to enhance their footwork.  Coach Dixon would make the group of receivers start the entire drill over if just one receiver brushed his foot across one of the pads that were laid out as obstacles.  It was amusing to see and hear the players express their irritation with the strict policies Coach Dixon set up for his drill.  He encouraged the aggravated group by demanding their focus and explaining that every single one of them has to do everything right in order for them to prevail. 

Once the periods assigned for individual drills expired the Bobcats spent an unusual amount of time working on special teams.  There were periods designated for punt, punt return, kickoff, and kickoff return.  We only saw a couple of kicks during kickoff return because coaches spent a fair amount of time with players walking through their blocking assignments.  The kickoff team didn't line up against a return team like they usually do either.  The real excitement for special teams was during field goal practice.  The calm winds couldn't stop Matt Weller from splitting the uprights from midfield.  Matt kicked two field goals that were right on target from sixty yards away! 

7-on-7 was organized at the twenty yard line and then from the ten.  The offense opened up this session of practice with a touchdown pass from Tyler Tettleton to wide receiver Tyler Futrell.  Tyler also completed passes to Ian Dixon, Kawmae Sawyer, Adam Alderman, and Donte Foster.  Defensively, Ian Wells and Nate Carpenter both got the opportunity to knock down a pass. 

Team practice closely imitated the 7-on-7 session.  The offense snapped the ball from the twenty, ten, and the five-yard line.  I took note of the defensive line getting to the quarterback on the pass more often than usual.  This is because the defensive backs covered the receivers well downfield and I am sure the players not being in pads also played a factor in this observation.  Defensive lineman Nic Barber brought some attention to himself after swatting a pass in the pocket that was intended for a receiver downfield.  Offensively, Kyle Snyder and LaVon Brazill connected on a pass in the end zone, giving the offense something to cheer about.

Join the Bobcats tomorrow as they host an in squad scrimmage in the morning at 9:15.  All are welcome to join the action inside Peden.  If you cannot make it to see the team this weekend, join us for our annual Ox Roast next Saturday evening.  I will keep you updated on both of these upcoming events.  Keep checking in Bobcats and have an awesome weekend.

Practice #15

The early morning practice provided great weather conditions for the players practicing in full pads.  Partly cloudy skies kept the hot sun off the turf and we even felt a nice breeze.

Today I filmed from my usual post on the south side of Peden atop a platform lift just above our main scoreboard.  During individual position drills I watched the defensive line right beneath me in the end zone.  My attention usually goes to the defensive line during this time because I can hear them the best.  My ability to hear them isn't because of their close proximity to me; it is because Coach Germano can be heard all the way across the field.  He keeps an intense mentality while working with his linemen and the players feed off of it.  Today was no different, the defensive linemen stayed energetic throughout their entire individual session with Coach Germano.

After Coach Germano was done working with the line he joined the punt and punt return team during the periods assigned to special teams.  The punt team lined up right at midfield to simulate short punt situations.  Paul Hershey's kicks were accurate at this range considering he only had one kick that was spotted outside the ten yard line.  The punt team did a great job of finding the ball in the air and keeping the punts out of the end zone as well.  For the punt return team, LaVon Brazill returned nearly every punt during special teams.

During 7-on-7 the offense spread the ball to many different areas of the field.  The quarterbacks also found a way to get the ball into the hands of many different receivers.  I took note of eight different eligible receivers with a catch during this time in practice.  Landon Smith, Bakari Bussey, and Brazill were the receivers I saw that had more than one catch. The session ended with a touchdown catch from Adam Alderman in the middle of the end zone.

The offense kept the momentum going and exploded during team practice this morning.  The very first play was a very long pass from Tyler Tettleton connecting with receiver Tyler Futrell for a touchdown at the other end of the field.  Tyler also completed passes to Brazill and running back Donte Harden this morning.  The offense found success with the running game as well.  Beau Blankenship and the rest of the offense surprised the defense with a weak side run resulting in a large chunk of yardage down the sideline.

The defense didn't leave the turf this morning without something to get excited about.  During one of the last periods of practice, linebacker Keith Moore scooped up a loose ball from a handoff and was able to score for the defense.  Great job by the defender to take what the offense gave him and quickly hop on the loose ball.  Another great defensive play came from defensive lineman Eric Price.  He was able to smack down a pass the quarterback was trying to direct in the flats.  The high tipped ball could have resulted in an interception in the backfield.

The Bobcats will have a lifting session in the weight room followed by a couple meetings this afternoon.  Shortly after their scheduled meetings the players will hit the grass practice field for one more practice this afternoon.                         

Practice #14

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The players' only practice was in the morning promptly after their individual position meetings with coaches.  The weather conditions were not favorable for a long practice in full pads because the sun had already made the day hot.

I filmed practice with the help from a couple other guys on the film staff.  Atop the roof of Peden, we captured the sideline view of practice.  We filmed with two cameras for the first part of practice but only used one for the rest of practice.  During the second half of practice, the Bobcats have been sticking with one offensive and defensive group on the field.  This differs from the way coaches conduct practice later in the season. They divide the field in half and the starting offense runs against the second team defense while the first team defense gets to see offensive looks from the scout team.  There will be more to film once coaches divide the field but until then coaches will be keeping a close eye on the lone offensive and defensive group on the field.

After individual drills the wide receivers and defensive backs lined up on the five yard line by the south end zone.  The defensive backs covered the receivers well, limiting their completions from the quarterback.  The defensive backs limited space with the receivers and were able to interfere with their hands as they tried to bring passes in. 

I got a chance to check out what the offensive and defensive linemen were doing during this time in practice as well.  They were executing the same drill as yesterday, the offensive-defensive line pass rush.  I took note of offensive lineman A.J. Strum.  He looked great during this drill. He was dominant against the opposing defensive end in the reps that I saw him perform.

During 7-on-7 I didn't see a lot of passes in the end zone.  The one touchdown I did see was a pass from Tyler TettletonChase Cochran caught the pass on a fade route just a couple yards shy of the end zone toward the sideline and was able to run it in the last couple of yards for the score.  Chase was efficient on plays that he did not receive the pass as well.  I observed him finding where the ball was in the secondary and finding the closest defender to block downfield after the ball was caught.  The offense will have an easier time driving the ball if the offense continues to set up blocks downfield until the whistle blows.

The defense found a way to keep the offense quiet this morning.  They were not fooled by any of the fake handoffs they saw from the offense and guarded the receivers well in many practice drills today.  During team practice, the defense limited the offense to only a couple of scores in the end zone.  One score I saw was a bullet thrown by quarterback Kyle Snyder.  He found tight end Adam Alderman running a short drag route right in the middle of the end zone.  Defensively, cornerback Larenzo Fisher had a good day all the way throughout practice.  The receivers he was guarding couldn't bring in the passes from the quarterback because of his defensive presence.  He also started team practice by breaking up a great pass thrown to a receiver running an inside route.  He closed team practice with an interception in the flats too.  A pass was tipped off of a receivers hand and after a couple more tips in the air Larenzo came down with the interception surrounded by his fellow defenders.  It was a play the defense got excited about. 

Today marks the halfway point in camp for the Bobcats.  Tomorrow's day for the team consists of two practices.  We are scheduled to have the morning practice held inside Peden on the turf and the afternoon practice on the grass practice field.  These two practices will be the last ones the Bobcats will have before their Saturday morning scrimmage at 9:15 A.M.  Go Bobcats!                

Practice #13

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The afternoon provided partly cloudy skies for the Bobcats during their second practice on the turf today.  The players came out in full pads ready for a physical day inside Peden Stadium.  I took a break today from the south end zone lift to get a sideline view of practice atop Peden Tower.

During individual position drills I filmed the wide receivers working with Coach Dixon and the quarterbacks.  I got a break during one-on-ones and was able to watch the offensive line and the defensive line work together.  During this time in practice the offensive line goes up against the defense in a variety of drills.  The objective of the drill today was for the offensive lineman to keep the defensive lineman away from the coach acting as a quarterback in the pocket.  Both the offense and defense were very physical during this drill and kept this mentality going and stayed physical throughout the rest of practice.  Both sides of the line worked hard today.

Coaches spent a lot of time between reps during special teams.  The Bobcats worked on kickoffs and coaches spoke with a lot of players individually on the field to demonstrate and discuss the players' specific lane assignments and other important information that needed to be relayed to the players.

After the coaches were satisfied with what they saw from our kickoff and kick return teams, the quarterbacks and receivers took the field along with the defense for 7-on-7.  I took note of Stephane N'goumou catching one in the end zone.  He also caught another pass during team practice.  Kawmae Sawyer caught a pass, as well as a couple during team practice.  Wide receiver Chris Johann came down with some catches this afternoon as well. 

One athlete that had a great day today was safety Gerald Moore.  Gerald was all over the offense's pass game today as he found a way to grab two interceptions during team practice.  What an outstanding day for the defensive back! Another player that I have noticed doing well in camp is running back Beau Blankenship.  He has been showing that he is a versatile man for the Bobcats in the backfield.  Blankenship connects with the quarterback in a variety of short routes and during team practice he runs hard with the ball.  He hits his assigned holes the offensive line creates for him with authority allowing these running plays to fully develop downfield.

The players continue their busy day with a special teams meeting, a team meeting, as well as a position meeting tonight after dinner.  The Bobcats will have an easier day on the turf tomorrow as they only have one practice in the morning right after breakfast.  Camp is nearly half over and the season will be here before we know it. 

Keep checking in with us Bobcats!     

Practice #12

After the full contact scrimmage the players came out on the turf this morning protected in just their helmets.  They must have appreciated this considering the clear skies we had allowed the sun to quickly make the day hot by nine in the morning.  The players were on the turf for nearly two hours of their eighteen period practices. 

I filmed practice from atop the lift on the defensive side of the field, the South side.  During individual drills I noticed the defensive linemen deviating from their usual routine.  Today they practiced exploding out of their stances underneath their suspended net.  They then spent time driving the sled located by the grass practice field.  During the periods used for special teams, coaches had the kickoff team run drills rather than actual kickoff simulations.

The Bobcats played well on both sides of the ball today.  I saw positive things from both the offense and defense.  The defense started drawing attention for themselves during 7-on-7.  On one pass directed in the flats, cornerback Jamil Shaw found a way to intercept it.  The short pass enabled the defender to get in front of the offense for an easy pick-six.  Safety Xavier Hughes also got the interception he has been waiting for in practice this morning. 

The offense also made some exciting plays as well.  One of the biggest passes we saw today came from Tyler Tettleton.  Tyler got some air under a pass and found receiver Tyler Futrell for a long touchdown.  It was a great catch by the receiver considering the safety was only a step behind him and was very involved in the play.  Wide receivers Jerry Gross and Donte Foster were persistent in practice this morning.  Gross had a touchdown catch and caught a couple more before the end of practice.  Donte Foster impressively caught two touchdown passes towards the end of practice during team. 

Other than these significant offensive plays the defense kept the offense relatively quiet and made them work hard and earn every yard they gained.  The Bobcats will have a couple meetings after lunch and will be back on the Peden turf for another practice this afternoon.   

Practice #11

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Today was a very sunny day here in Athens, Ohio.  It was a great day for the players to have their scrimmage.  It was great to see many more Bobcat fans sitting in on practice at Peden today.  The team appreciates the daily support from everyone.  Keep it up Bobcats!

I filmed practice from the roof of Peden Tower giving me a great sideline view of all the action.  The players warmed up with a ten-minute practice session, a ten-minute stretch period, and some individual position drills. Once the players were loose and ready to go, the scrimmage started with simulated punts.  The scrimmage continued with the first team offense and the first team defense marching onto the field.  The coaches designed the scrimmage so the first and second team offense had a chance to see the first and second team defense, and the third team offense got reps in with the third team defense on the field. 

When the first team offense was up against the first team defense, everything was steady.  The defense kept the offense from getting large chunks of yardage on the ground and in the air.  The offense completed many of their short passes and was able to run the ball for three or four yards consistently.  The two competitive groups showed fans and coaches a great athletic performance.

The big plays occurred when the second and third team unit came out onto the field.  One of the biggest offensive plays we saw this afternoon came from freshman running back David Fulcher.  David found a way to get past the secondary on the left side of the field and ran with the sideline hashes for a fifty five yard gain on the ground.  Freshman quarterback Derrius Vick is a mobile quarterback and made great decisions with the ball today as well.  Freshman Ronnie Bell had a great day at practice.  He threw a great touchdown pass to Tyler Futrell towards the end of the scrimmage.  It was a sky high pass thrown right from midfield that made the receiver's job look easy. 

All of our quarterbacks got the job done today.  The plays being called in from the sidelines ran smoothly and they kept the ball in the possession of the offense throughout the entire scrimmage.  The defensive linemen proved every one of them can get the job done as they looked great with the first, second, and third team defense.  The officials stayed relatively quiet during the scrimmage too.  The defense played with discipline today yet was excited to hit.  As a result they were penalized with two unnecessary roughness calls today.  Our starting safeties together hit a receiver so hard today he lost his shoe!

Come join the Bobcats at Peden this Saturday at 9:15 A.M. for their next in squad scrimmage.  The Bobcats will be going hard as this marks the last practice the Bobcats will have before their first day off this season.  The Bobcats continue their dedicated work tomorrow with two practices outside.  Keep checking in with us and thank you for all for your gracious support.

Practice #10

Monday, August 15, 2011

Practice was scheduled to be on the grass field but this afternoon's rain forced us onto the turf.  Coaches avoid the grass field when it is wet to prevent any unnecessary injury.  We saw a thunderstorm that changed our schedule around as well.

During the first period of practice the lifts were sent down because of the high winds we were seeing.  By the second period we saw lightning which forced the players and coaches to retreat to the locker rooms to wait out the storm. Lightning can easily disturb practice because we have to wait until we have thirty minutes without a bolt of lightning in the area before we go back onto the field as a safety precaution.

The coaches decided to start practice with 7-on-7 once the players warmed back up.  Donte Foster found many ways to get open this time and was a popular target this afternoon.  I saw him catch more than half a dozen passes during practice.  Derek Roback had a great performance today as well.  I saw a touchdown grab from him as well as a catch from him this morning in practice.

During team practice Tyler Tettleton and LaVon Brazill found some ways to get around the defense this afternoon.  They connected on a pass in the corner of the end zone as well as one right under the goalpost in the back of the end zone.  These two exciting plays were a great start to team practice.  Quarterbacks Kyle Snyder and Tettleton both had great days today in the air. 

The defense kept their momentum going from the morning practice and had more outstanding plays as they found a variety of ways to get their hands on the ball.  Nathan Carpenter and Ryan Clark both intercepted passes intended for receivers in the end zone looking to score.  The linebackers made a combined effort today to disrupt the offense. Jelani Woseley got to the running back on an inside running play from the offense and found a way to strip it right out of his arms.  Noah Keller was in on the play as well; he read the ball off the bounce and scooped it up.  The last exciting play I saw from the defense was when the offense was running an option.  Linebacker Jovon Johnson read the play and found a way to get in between the quarterback and the running back on the pitch.  Javon got a hand on it and the ball gave him a great bounce in the backfield enabling him to find lots of open room to run for the touchdown. 

Practice ended with field goal kicks and punt returns.  Matt Weller got the team excited when he split the uprights from fifty five yards away.  Tomorrow's practice will include a scrimmage between the offense and defense.  The coaches, players, and officials will be on the turf ready to get things started at 1:25 P.M.  The weather forecast predicts mostly sunny skies.  It will be great day for some live action at Peden.  Stop by Peden to check it out and support our Bobcats.  See ya there!

Practice #9

Monday's practice started out chilly and cloudy. The rain held off for a twenty period long, full pad, practice. After individual drills, coaches got out the skull caps to simulate punts.  Paul Hershey's kicks are ready for the season to begin. They had great distance as well as a good amount of hang time. Senior LaVon Brazill received punts; freshmen Landon Smith, Ryan Hammonds, and David Fulcher caught the rest of the kicks.

The defense blanketed the receivers during the 7-on-7s.  The quarterbacks' favorite targets included Tyler Futrell, Ryan Boykin, and Joey Inks.  Two of Joey's catches were in the end zone.

It was the defensive players who brought the excitement to the team practice. Cornerback Larenzo Fisher, had a great play about fifteen yards off the line of scrimmage.  The defensive line pushed the quarterback out of the pocket and was forced to his right.  He fired a pass while on the run and Fisher stepped in front of this intended target for a pick. He stayed with the mobile quarterback the entire play.  He found some room to run after the catch with some of his fellow defenders.  Another great defensive play came from linebacker A.J. Grady.  He broke up a perfect pass intended for a receiver running a bench route in the flats.  Grady established his athleticism in a diving swat at the ball was exciting; he was horizontal in the air with full extension. 

The players will begin their afternoon with a lifting session and lunch.  After their scheduled meetings with coaches the players, will hit the turf one more time today for another practice.  Keep checking in with us Bobcats!   

Practice #8

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The whistle for pre-practice this morning was at 9:45 A.M.  The players came onto the field in full pads.  We had great weather today for picture day.  This included the team photo in the Peden stands, individual player pictures, position pictures, as well as some pictures of the coaches.

Practice lasted twenty-three periods today, nearly two hours.  After individual drills I filmed one-on-ones from the south end zone.  Receivers Jerry Gross and Bakari Bussey made great catches during this section of practice as well.

The O-line looked great; exactly what I expected to see from the experienced group.  When I watch them during team practice, I see them setting up blocks five yards off the line of scrimmage.  This makes the offense look good because their running plays fully develop nearly every time.  I haven't taken note of a false start from them all week.  They are obviously keeping their focus every practice, every play.  I really like what I am seeing from them; keep up the great work!

During team practice the offense moved fast.  They really hustled today.  This is great for all the coaches because they get to see more plays from their offense.  The first exciting play was a long pass on the right side of the field.  Chase Cochran caught the pass.  It was a great pass and Chase watched it all the way into his hands.  Quarterback Derrius Vick had a long run from inside the pocket; one of the longest runs the offense had today.  Landon Smith had two great catches today including one that was beyond the secondary.  LaVon Brazill was consistent this week; I don't think he had a day without a catch in team practice or 7-on-7's.  Tight End Zac Clark had a touchdown grab today, he also had a great catch yesterday in the flats.  Defensively, Ryan Clark made a great play today.  His impressive vertical enabled him to break up a perfect pass from the offense.          

The experience was unique.  I got the chance to be on the turf with the entire team.  I enjoyed spending the afternoon interacting with the players and see them joke around with each other. 

The Bobcats stayed organized and got a lot done today.  Joe, the photographer, had nothing but positive things to say about the Bobcats.  He explained to me that sometimes teams just send out a hundred players on the field making the already long process stressful.  This differs from the way the Bobcats took care of the picture process.  The players came out onto the turf by specific positions making it easier on all of us.  The players were on time and the team photo was quick and painless.  The Bobcats have had an outstanding week on and off the field.  The Bobcats continue the action tomorrow with two practices.  Go Bobcats!            

Practice #7

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Afternoon practice was held on the grass practice field.  Our practice field is located between Peden Stadium and the Ohio University Golf Course.  Interestingly enough, this specific area used to be part of the golf course at one point in time.  Throughout the season we try to get on this field about once a week. 

I filmed this practice with three other guys on the sideline lift.  The sideline angle is shot from atop one of the platform lifts instead of the high tower.  The end zone view is from atop a scaffold behind one of the goal posts.  Every view that we shoot on the grass field is a lot closer and not as high.  This is because of the limited space and we are not inside a stadium.  One thing that we, as filmers, appreciate about grass practices is that we are close enough to hear what the coaches are saying to the players as well as some other interactions.  The major disadvantage to these close, low angles that we shoot from is that the film just isn't as good.  It might not have the same quality but I am sure the coaches and players get just as much information from clips filmed inside Peden as they do from the grass field. 

Practice this afternoon was only eighteen periods long, I believe, and led off with the usual individual position drills.  During this time I filmed the wide receivers that were literally right beneath me. The camera hardly had to zoom in on them at all.  At the conclusion of individual drills the team got out the kicking tee to practice some kickoff returns.  LaVon Brazill saw some kicks, along with Donte Harden, Ryan Clark, and Kyle Hammonds.

During 7-on-7 the offense looked like they did in the afternoon.  Some of the routes our quarterbacks connected with included; slants, curls, cutbacks, and drags.  The defense was very much involved; Xavier Hughes turned heads with a play at the end zone.  He came out of nowhere and broke up a pass.  I think it would have been a pick if we were in some pads today.  He showed some frustration after not coming down with the ball but way to look out for your teammates! I can only imagine what kind of damage that helmet can do to someone who isn't wearing any pads and not expecting contact.  Alphonso Lewis had a nice play on defense as well.  An inside receiver ran a post route and Alphonso picked it off just before the end zone and quickly turned it around. He did a great job finding some room to run after the pick to get the offense in better position.  The offense got the last laugh though with an amazing touchdown grab from Donte Foster.

During team practice I thought the offense moved the ball around very well.  On one play when Phil Bates was behind center, the offense found success on a reverse.  The defense was expecting Phil to run it to his right when he pitched it to Tyler Futrell.  Tyler found a lot of room to run on the left side of the field and the offense liked what they saw.  The defense didn't forget as they hopped on it the next time they saw it.  Ronnie Bell found success with a couple touchdowns passing today.  He dialed one up for Jerry Gross and another for freshman running back Kyle Hammonds, all in the last session of team. That is impressive!  Defensive lineman Corey Hastings had a great day also.  He knocked one pass out of the air that almost ended up being intercepted in the pocket.  I also observed Hastings finding the quarterback a couple times during team practice as well.          

The work continues early tomorrow morning.  The players and staff will be granted a day off Sunday.  Enjoy what's left of the weekend.

Practice #6

Morning practice started a little earlier than its usual time today.  A blanket layer of clouds gave us a break from the sun this morning keeping the temperature low all the way throughout practice.  On paper, practice was to run for twenty three periods but by the time I got up on the defensive lift the guys told me over the headset that practice was only going to be twenty periods long. 

I did not have much to film during individual drills so the action got started for me during one-on-ones.  The one-on-one drill is as simple as it sounds. You have the quarterbacks and receivers trying to complete passes with a defensive back defending the pass.  This is my favorite drill to see in practice since there is always one or two awesome catches from the receivers.  The defensive backs never let the receivers get an easy one in so they really have to work for every pass they see.  One-on-ones were conducted from the ten-yard line today. They usually do them further back toward the forty-yard line but I prefer when they start from the ten because you get to see the players fight for the ball in the air, as well as more one-handed catches.  This is most likely because the balls the receivers see aren't coming in with as much velocity. 

Speaking of one handed catches, Riley Dunlop had one in the corner of the end zone.  Receiver Stephane N'goumou had a great catch in the corner of the end zone as well.  I saw Chase Cochran catch a couple during one-on-ones as well.  He has been consistent in team practice and 7-on-7 as I have seen him with a catch at least every day. I would still like to see him utilize that speed and catch a long pass one day instead of the ones he usually sees in the flats.  Phil Bates also caught every ball he saw today during one-on-ones. 

Yep, Phil is back on the field.  He was dressed in his gold quarterback jersey but spent most of his practice time with the receivers.  He did take a couple snaps behind center during team drills.  His strength enabled him to fend off defenders in order to bring in a couple passes in traffic.  Phil is a tremendous athlete and will do great regardless of where he is on the field.  It will be interesting to see where he will be utilized on the field closer toward the season.

7-on-7 looked good today.  The offense kept it simple and completed a high percentage of the passes they executed.  This was especially the case when Tyler Tettleton and Kyle Snyder were throwing the ball. All their passes were right on target.  Nathan Carpenter had a great play on defense when he picked off a hard throw directed for a receiver close to the sidelines. It was a heads up play.

The offense kept the same momentum going during team practice.  The running plays they executed developed well and they completed a high number of passes.  Tettleton connected with LaVon Brazill on a long pass and so did Snyder to Landon Smith. Beau Blankenship sneaked past the secondary on a play and caught a long bomb as well. 

I think the weather is calling for some thunderstorms so were hoping for the best.  There has been some talk about this practice being held on the grass field instead of the turf.  I did see some of the equipment guys moving some stuff over on the grass as well.  We will see what happens.  Thanks for keeping up with us, go Bobcats!      

Practice #5

Friday, August 12, 2011

It was another gorgeous day here in Athens, Ohio.  The sun was out all day as there wasn't a cloud to be seen.  It has been like this all day, the guys most likely had a hot afternoon walk through on the turf.  Nothing they can't handle, the Bobcats were out on the field this morning in full pads.  That's right, the first day in full pads!

Everything went smooth this morning at practice.  Our practice was set up the same way as yesterdays with the exception of one period.  I think it was a 7-on-7 period that didn't make the cut.  I filmed practice again behind the end zone closest to the river today right in front of the scoreboard.  While filming the linebackers today during their individual drills I noticed a couple of linebackers that were not in pads.  I do not know why but it didn't look like it was related to injury or anything serious like that.  One of the linebackers that was not dressed was Noah Keller but he was still very much involved in practice. You could see him sharing some of his football knowledge and experience with the younger linebackers during their drills.  Sitting out on practice drills couldn't stop Noah from making a great play on defense today, more on that later..

During team practice today I thought the defense won the war.  The offense couldn't find many holes in the defensive secondary so they didn't complete as many passes today as a result.  Cornerback Travis Carrie had a great pick today on defense and I believe he found some open field after the catch on the play as well. Good play on the ball Travis!  Another great defensive play I saw today came from our redshirt freshman safety Josh KristoffTyler Tettleton was looking to connect with wide receiver Jerry Gross and just as Tettleton released the ball, Josh cut right in front of the receiver and pounced on one for a turnover around the five yard line.  After looking at film, he was reading the quarterback the entire time.  It looked as if he knew what the quarterback was going to do even before the snap.  Way to take it away from the offense in the red zone and great job being in position for the play, keep it up Josh! 

Towards the conclusion of team practice cornerback Devin Bass had a nice pick as well.  It was one-on-one coverage and the receiver was executing a long cutback route. Devin stuck with him the whole time.  He kept himself in good position defensively as the receiver was approaching him and he made a great angle toward the ball to interfere with the play.  Devon brought the ball in fast and made a quick couple steps in order to stay in bounds.  The defensive players got excited about it and should have been too. Good catch Devon!

The offense made some great plays too.  Wide receiver Riley Dunlop only had a couple catches today but one was in the end zone during 7 -on-7 and the other catch was on a fade route where he found some separation from the cornerback. Way to make it happen Riley. 

I also forgot to mention how our field goal unit was looking yesterday.  They looked great! Kicker Matt Weller was splitting the uprights from fifty yards away.  We saw the same thing from him today as well as a fifty yard field goal from our freshman kicker  Josiah Yazdani.  They were both great kicks, they both had the distance and the accuracy for maybe a couple more yards back. 

A lot of interesting things happened today when the team took a break from team practice for some 7-on-7.  On one play, running back Donte Harden got his helmet knocked off from a collision with cornerback Omar Leftwich.  They were both going for a pass that was thrown in the flats and Omar's shoulder just had that upward angle that allowed it to happen.  Both players were able to shake it off, good to see.  No one likes to see a player take a hard collision either off of another player or off the turf during practice.  So stay up and look out for each other guys, I am sure the coaches have enough to worry about. 

Lastly, during 7-on-7 Noah Keller also found himself in on the action as he was helping out the linebackers and directing traffic in that area before the snaps.  I think it was the tight end that was running a type of drag route just five yards out but just as he was crossing in front of freshman quarterback Ronnie Bell for an open pass, you heard a thud and the ball didn't end in the receiver's hands.  I looked away from my camera to figure out what happened to the pass and I saw Noah picking his hat off the turf.  Ronnie fired one right into Noah's chest unintentionally as he was looking for the tight end.  Noah was fine as he continued helping out the linebackers for the rest of 7-on-7's.  The only difference I noticed from him was that he took a knee once the ball was in the quarterbacks hands.

Overall, I saw a great performance from the Bobcats today on the practice field.  Tomorrow, the Bobcats have two practices, an earlier one in the morning and one in the later part of the afternoon.  Tomorrow is also media day. The players will spend time in between practices taking any pictures or interviews they have assigned.  Sounds like a busy day but the players don't have to be in as many meetings tomorrow.  Some of the players might appreciate that.  Either way I am looking forward to see how all of this is going to work out tomorrow.  It should be interesting.  Go Bobcats!      

Practice #4

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Today's practice was just as long as yesterdays, twenty-six periods.  These periods are five minutes long and this is how the Bobcats keep track of time on the practice field.  If you include the time the players take to stretch and warm up during pre-practice, the players were on the turf for a little over two-and-a-half hours.  If you take into account their shoulder pads, helmet, and the baking turf these athletes had a demanding practice.  Keep up the hard work guys!

Today was another beautiful day.  At the beginning of practice there was still dew on the grass and not a cloud in sight.  By the end we had many fluffy cumulus clouds in the sky.  Today I filmed practice alone from our small scissor lift on the south side of Peden.  This lift is positioned on the slab of concrete that is just in front of the main scoreboard.  This is my favorite place to film as this lift provides a great view of not only the turf but the Hocking River and bike path just behind me, our grass practice field, and some of the Ohio University Golf Course.    

Atop the small lift on the south side of Peden I am mainly responsible for recording defensive drills.  I spent some time filming the linebackers during their individual drills and they looked great.  They spent some time catching quick throws and showed off their footwork.  After these drills the linebackers flipped over their plastic trash cans to discuss some gap assignments.  Upon the conclusion of individual drills the Bobcats spent a couple periods on a drill we call "inside".  The inside drill is a combination of running plays the offense runs against the defense with the exception of the wide receivers and defensive backs.  On practices that we do this drill, we usually exclude one-on-one drills between the receivers and defensive backs. This is because the quarterbacks are needed for handoffs during the inside drill. 

After the periods assigned for the inside drill expired, the wide receivers and defensive backs soon joined the rest of the team for team practice.  Team practice went well; the offense completed more passes today and looked sharp.  The first play I took note of was one that quarterback Kyle Snyder and wide receiver Jerry Gross connected on a fade route in the middle of practice.  It was one of those sky-high passes where the receiver had to turn around on the ball but the cornerback had not. Gross had to jump and reach over the cornerback, somehow catch the ball, and find a way to bring it in with the defender in on the play.  It was cool to see, great catch Jerry! 

Other offensive feats include wide receiver LaVon Brazill.  Today LaVon found more than a couple ways to get open as I noted at least a half a dozen catches from him during team practice. This doesn't include the catches he made during 7-on-7.  I also saw a great diving catch from redshirt freshman Stephane N'goumou.  It was on an inside route and it was thrown behind him, but he was able to come back for the ball and hang on. 

The defense didn't get an official turnover on the offense today.  I thought I saw a couple, but coaches gave all the close calls to the offense.  Maybe the coaches wanted to see the offense have a better day than they did yesterday.  On one play during team drills, cornerback Larenzo Fisher jumped, extended, and picked a ball intended for a receiver on a fade route. Unfortunately, he came down out of bounds.  It was still a heads-up play.  Cornerback Ryan Clark also had a great play on defense during team practice as, somehow, he broke up a great looking pass intended for a receiver on what looked like a post route.  Returning defensive lineman Carl Jones also had a great day on defense.  He stopped a couple running plays right at the line of scrimmage and even jumped on a loose ball in the offensive backfield.  It is unsure if the loose ball was an actual fumble by the offense but it is always exciting when one of the big guys finds the ball like that in open field.

The Bobcats had an overall successful day on the field.  By the way the players are moving from station to station and drill to drill I would have to say we are finding our routine.  If you're in Athens try to make it out to the Athens Fair tonight.  The demolition derby is tonight and it should be exciting.  The tractors start at 6 p.m. and the cars start at 7 p.m.  See you there.  Go Bobcats!                      

Practice #3

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Today was an awesome day for a long practice.  There were not many clouds in the sky and it wasn't as hot as it has been. Hopefully it stays like this for the rest of the week.  Overall, it was a great practice as we got to hear some "cracks" during drills as the players were equipped with the top half of their pads.  Today I filmed from atop Peden Tower with some help from a couple other guys on the film staff.  We set up around the fifty yard line to film the sideline view.  The roof of Peden provides a great view of the field as well as the green hills surrounding the river.  The roof is also nice because it provides a lot of space for equipment and moving around.  

Since the offense practices mostly on the north half of the field and the defense stays on the south, the endzone filmer usually only gets exposure, or pays attention, to half the team.  With the extra help provided on the roof I was able to film and check out both the offensive and defensive sides of practice today.  Everything looked normal during individual drills. The real excitement started during special teams.  Our punt team looks great.  The snaps are crisp and the punts are sky high.  On one punt play I witnessed Paul Hershey kick a spiral from the ten all the way to the other twenty yard line.  What a kick!  Hershey has a boot.  Our returners are seeing great kicks as well.  Coach Solich spends a high amount of quality time working on special teams.  Every time the players hit the turf or the practice field they know they are not jogging off without working on special teams.  Special teams is something that is never overlooked and the Bobcats should win the field position battle every week.          

A lot of things went on today during team practice.  We saw plenty of emotion from players today as there were a couple of scuffles that were quickly extinguished by the coaches.  Let's just say we kept the record button on a little longer after the plays today.  I have seen cornerback Omar Leftwich make some good plays on defense as well.  I would have to say that the defense won the battle in the air today during team and 7-on-7.  During team drills, I think the defense had two interceptions and another two or three opportunities from tipped balls.  Bring those in receivers.  The defensive line even smacked one down.  Speaking of our defensive line.....

I think we had an injury today.  The injury happened during team practice and he had to be escorted off the field.  We as filmers knew it was serious when we saw Coach Solich was at the scene.  After zooming in the big guy I saw it was Jeff King, a redshirt senior.  After Jeff's injury and the loss of some key defensive linemen from last year, I am interested to see how these younger guys take the pressure.  I will update you on their progress as fall camp continues.  I feel like I have been seeing too many of our linemen on the injury list