What a difference a week makes. This morning, the weather in Westwood was...well, let's just say it wasn't your typical Spring Quarter weather.
Thankfully, the light rain stopped as practice was starting and it didn't start up again until Coach Mora delivered his post-practice press conference.
The defense continues to look like it's further along than the offense.
Part of this stems from the presence of lack of discipline or, as Coach Mora referred to it, lack of focus penalties like false starts. There were a lot of those today. One thing the team is doing to try to eliminate those is that when one is called that player immediately leaves the play and runs down to the far end zone and back before re-joining the offense for another play. Someone is quickly subbing in while that player runs.
Part of it is also probably the adjustment to running from different formations. While the team may be running essentially the same plays, the players need to adjust from what they were used to under Noel Mazzone to the new formations being employed by Kennedy Polamalu.
One area that has to improve is the offensive line. After practice, Coach Mora commented that they have three new guys playing inside. The weakest link on the offensive line, at least today, appeared to be Cristian Garcia. For most of practice, Garcia was playing guard.
There was one series in particular where he just flat out got beat by the defense three plays in a row. He followed that up soon thereafter with a false start. He will definitely need to step up his game between now and September if he hopes to start against Texas A&M.
There's still a lot of teaching going on.
At the beginning of practice, Coach McClure could be seen (and easily heard) walking the defensive line through their gap responsibilities when certain calls were made.
On the other field, Coach Klemm had the offensive line working with an apparatus designed to help the linemen fire off the snap low to the ground. If they didn't, they would hit their head on it. Needless to say, the linemen are firing out low.
Darren Andrews continued to look good at wide receiver while Denzel Fisher made a really nice interception in 11-on-11 drills. Anyone worried about the graduation of Ka'imi Fairbairn shouldn't be. J.J. Molson continued to look impressive nailing all of his field goals at the end of practice. Molson even hit one from 51 yards that look like it still would have been good from another 8-10 yards away.
One of the things that Bruins Nation should take heart in is how Coach Mora is emphasizing eliminating penalties. For years, our comments have filled up with members who are upset with the number of dumb penalties which have been called in games. Mora said, "The [penalties] he's most concerned with are the ones that are lack of focus [penalties]. I've asked [the refs who have been at practice] to be as picky as they can possibly be. I haven't seen a lot of flags except for the false starts and that's something that we can correct and we will correct. We better correct and we must correct."
Coach Mora discussed two specific injuries today. The first was Mique Juarez who hurt his neck/head on Monday and Mora said that they wanted to be very cautious, telling him to go home and rest for a few days and not go to practice, meetings or even class. The second injury Coach Mora touched on was Stephen Manfro. Manfro re-injured his shoulder last week and, while he is no longer going to be playing, Coach Mora emphasized that it is not a "medical retirement."
Finally, as a little bonus for those who may have missed the interviews from Thursday's session, here are the videos Ed Lewis posted after Thursday evening's practice.
The Bruins' next practice is Monday afternoon at 4:30 pm.