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Thread: 2006: Preseason Practice Reports

  1. UL Football 2006: Preseason Practice Day 1 Monday

      Two of the stalwarts in the University of Louisiana defensive end corps - in fact, UL's likely starters at the end slots - won't be part of the Ragin' Cajun practice sessions this week.

    Senior Tony Hills, an honorable mention All-Sun Belt Conference selection last season and a preseason all-league pick, and junior Rodney Hardeway are continuing a suspension from the spring semester.

    The two were not at Monday's opening practice session, and coach Rickey Bustle said the pair won't rejoin the team until Saturday.

    "It carried over from the spring," Bustle said, "but they'll be finished with it and be back with us this weekend."

    Hills, a product of Carrollton, Texas-Smith High, has 19 starts over the past two seasons and tied for the squad lead in sacks last year with four. He was twice named the team's defensive player of the week.

    Hardeway, from Tyler, Texas-Chapel Hill High, has played in all 22 games over the past two seasons, including 11 as a natural freshman in 2004. He had 4 1/2 tackles for losses and three sacks last season and was UL's defensive player of the week against Fla. International.

    NUMBERS GAME: The absences of Hills and Hardeway left UL with 103 players at Monday's initial practice session. Division I-A teams may have a maximum of 105 players taking part in fall drills, but Bustle said the two won't be replaced number-wise since they're scheduled to be on the field Saturday.

    The rest of the story

    Dan McDonald

  2. UL Football Re: The ins and outs of Day One Practice

      Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns practiced for the first time this fall on Monday morning at the Cajuns practice facility. The Cajuns held position meetings at 8am, and then hit the field at 8:45am. Monday's opening day covered 11 periods, lasting slightly over two hours.

    "We moved our practices during camp to the mornings in order to give us some flexibility," stated head coach Rickey Bustle. "There are so many late afternoon showers in South Louisiana that would always rain us out. This way, we can practice earlier to avoid that and if it rains in the morning, then we still might have an opportunity to get it in later."

    Inclement weather was not something the Cajuns had to deal with Monday, as clear skies paved the way for an early session with less than stifling heat.

    The early practice time was welcomed by players and coaches who were eager to get started following last season's impressive five-game winning streak to end the 2005 campaign.

    "Everybody was enthusiastic this morning and ready to go," added Bustle. "I just can't say it any better, they were ready to go."

    For the first time, every player in camp is product of Bustle and his staff. Ten players remain from Bustle's first fall camp in 2002. Those ten include Jerry Babb, Mack Fair, Johnny Felders, Josh Harrison, Tony Hills, Chester Johnson, Wes Simon, Derek Morel, John Grotefend and Michael Zatarain.

    Five of the ten players, Babb, Fair, Harrison, Hills and Johnson, all visited UL on the same recruiting weekend. All-Sun Belt offensive lineman Brandon Cox was also a part of that group. Cox did not enroll at UL until the spring semester that school year.

    "It's exciting to have your team in here," stated Bustle. "Those guys that have stayed in the program are very valuable and have played a big part in building this program."

    Most of the freshmen were forced to learn 'on the fly' as practice moved at a quick pace for some of the newcomers. The practice format does not allow for extra time between the coaches and incoming players.

    Notes: Projected starting offensive right guard Will Chance injured his left ankle during out of season conditioning prior to the start of camp…Chance is listed as doubtful for camp…He was re-evaluated by a doctor on Monday morning…Surgery is likely.



      Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns second football practice lasted two-plus hours on Tuesday morning under humid conditions. The heat index peaked at 102 degrees during the Cajuns second break of practice.

    The team continued its work on fundamentals and techniques. Most of the first two days of practice has been drills intended to teach form and the Cajuns system.

    “Today’s practice was excellent,” stated offensive coordinator Rob Christophel. “I liked our tempo both days.

    “We have a lot of veterans back and the coaches have been able to up the pace because we’re not spending as much time teaching.”

    Those veteran players, including 22 seniors, have already established leadership positions. There is at least one senior at each position, including a team-high four seniors at linebacker.

    It is not uncommon to spot a newcomer asking a veteran a question at any given point in practice.

    “I think it’s the system the players have been brought up in,” added Christophel. “The guys have had to lean on each other (during practice).

    “Because we do so much coaching off the field, we don’t spend a lot of time on the field. Practice is about getting the repetitions in, and then we watch the tape and correct it off the field.

    “Our older guys are taking the responsibility of bringing the younger guys off to the side while we are still working on things.”

    The quarterback work, meanwhile, has been much different than the spring.

    Back-ups Connor Morel and John Hundley took most of the spring reps over experienced starters Jerry Babb and Michael Desormeaux. The idea was to give the veterans a little rest, while allowing the younger pair a chance to showcase their skills.

    Both Babb and Desormeaux have already seen their workload increase.

    “The plan is to get Jerry and Michael back into the swing of things,” explained Christophel.

    “I do also want to take some more time to evaluate Connor and John.

    “It’s an ongoing process. No decision has been made and the best thing is for our quarterbacks to practice well and make the decisions difficult.”


  4. UL Football Practice Report Day 3

      Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns put on their shoulder pads on Wednesday for the first time this fall – a day earlier than expected. The team is likely to wear shoulder pads for Thursday’s practice and add full pads for Friday’s work.

    The contact drills, which ensued because of the pads, created the most competitive practice thus far of camp.

    “I expected the defense to execute a little cleaner for the first day in shoulder pads,” said Cajuns defensive coordinator Brent Pry. “We had some good snaps and some bad snaps, but I feel we did get better.

    “The film will be a good one to watch. This phase of camp is about learning from the tape and working hard.”

    The offensive and defensive line worked a double period of one-on-one pass rush drills. The rivalry between the groups was quickly renewed. Both sides were very physical.

    “It was very competitive between the lines today,” added Pry. “There were some guys that really stepped-up on both lines.

    “If we can have that kind of intensity everyday, then we’ll be much better pass rushers and pass protectors.”

    Practice ended with a 14-play varsity period with the offense running first down plays. The offense ran nine times during the drill.

    The ground and passing game was somewhat successful, but it is difficult to judge the effectiveness as no tackling was allowed.

    “The offense executed some plays where we had some mental errors,” stated Pry. “We need to watch the video and clean-up those mistakes. There were some good spots on defense and it was helpful to compete against the offense rather than ourselves.

    “Not being able to tackle forces the defense to be in better position. You can’t run through somebody, you’re forced to be in good position. There’ll be plenty of tackling on Friday when we put the pads on. For now, we need to get our positioning down in the next few days.”

    The Cajuns will workout on Thursday and Friday morning, with media day slated for 1pm on Friday. The first two-a-day practice session is slated for Saturday.

    Fan Day will take place at Cajun Field on Sunday at 6pm.


  5. UL Football Practice Report Day 4

      Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns finished their fourth workout of the fall on Thursday morning. The Cajuns worked for two hours in shoulder pads. The team will practice in full pads on Friday for the first time this fall.

    The most contested work continued to be the offensive line against the defensive line. The groups worked against one another in run combination blocking, one-on-one pass blocking and two-on-two twist blocking.

    "Things were very competitive when we began facing the defense (on Wednesday)," stated Cajuns offensive line coach Ron Hudson.

    "The offense had good tempo, but didn't necessarily win all the battles against the defense.

    "I think we responded better today. It's good to see guys coming at you and then making the right decisions."

    The competitive nature of practice changed once the players added shoulder pads and were allowed full speed blocking. Moreover, players began to see how their technique translated in physical battles.

    "When you don't have pads on and you make a mistake, nothing tells you it was wrong," stated Hudson. "As soon as you go against a guy with pads on, you know when you lost.

    "We get a lot more feedback with the pads on. Our athletes are able to process things much better and respond to them more effectively."

    Many players have realized the potential to impress coaches early and often and Hudson noted that every play of every practice helps determine the depth chart for the season.

    "There are a lot of battles going on all over the place," said Hudson. "Guys are trying to win starting jobs and make the travel list. I expect those battles to go on for quite a while."


    Surgery to repair damage to the ankle of right guard Will Chance was successful on Tuesday…Chance will likely miss at least three months and possibly four months…Twelve weeks from Chance's surgery date is Halloween Day…The Cajuns season finale vs. ULM is four months and four days from this past Tuesday…Guard Lanier Coleman has worked as the starting right guard, while Damian Jones and Ryan Gilles battled behind Coleman.

    Offensive line coach Ron Hudson on Will Chance…

    "It's a disappointing injury because Will is a great young man. He has the spark and fight that I really like. To his credit, he came out everyday whether he was starting or a back-up. I admire his competitiveness and leadership. We'll miss his fire and intensity.


  6. UL Football Practice Report Day 5

      Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns worked practice number five on Friday morning in full pads. It marked the first practice this fall in full gear. The team returned after lunch for team photos and media day.

    In the morning, the Cajuns came out with the intensity of a full pads practice. The spirit was built-up for period six, which was middle drill.

    The battle in middle drill was won by the defense.

    "We came out and played hard," said Cajuns defensive line coach Shawn Quinn. "The offensive line is very talented and we just try to get better against them every day.

    "The first day in pads is always exciting. The guys are ready to come out here and get after it and that's what they did."

    The team period at the end of practice featured all third down situations of various distances. The defensive line was a major factor once again in the defense's success. Penetration by the line created several difficulties for the offense.

    "The real football doesn't start until the pads go on and we made some plays today," stated Quinn. "Football isn't played in shorts, so today was the first day we could get some real full speed, full contact work. I'm pleased with what I saw."

    UL will begin two-a-day practices on Saturday with an 8am and a 3:30pm session. Full pads will be the attire in the morning, while the team will outfit in shorts and shoulder pads for the afternoon.

    "The challenge is to work hard in the morning and then come back and get a good practice in during the afternoon," explained Quinn. "It's hot, but its hot everywhere, so we have to find a way to get better."

    The Cajuns will practice on Sunday at 2:45pm.

    Fall Sports Fan Day will be held at Cajuns Field on Sunday at 6pm.


  7. UL Football Day 5, Sixth period sparks

      The players started chanting a full minute before the horn blew, and the University of Louisiana's offensive and defensive linemen were ready and waiting when Friday's sixth practice period began.

    That sixth period was middle drills ... the ones that many of the players had been waiting for since fall camp began on Monday.

    "We knew from the start of stretching today that sixth period was middle drill," said linebacker Mack Fair. "The coaches were already pumping it up. We were the center of attention."

    The Ragin' Cajun football team donned full pads for the first time this season Friday morning, and the middle drill at the mid-point of practice marked the first time for players to block and tackle without reservation.

    "The real football doesn't start until the pads go on. Football isn't played in shorts," said defensive line coach Shawn Quinn. "This was the first time we could get some real work. I'm pleased with what I saw."

    The rest of the story

    Dan McDonald

  8. UL Football Practice Report Day 7

      Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns finished their first week of camp on Sunday afternoon with a light practice. The Cajuns worked 10 seven-minute periods and then finished with light conditioning.

    Rare dry heat engulfed the practice fields, as temperatures rose above 100 degrees, with humidity hovering around 30 percent.

    "Our guys really enjoyed the morning off to get some rest," said Cajuns safeties coach Tim Rebowe. "They came out with a good attitude ready to work hard in the short practice.

    "The heat really jumped out at everybody, but we didn't let it beat us."

    The final practice period featured offense against defense in first-and-10 situations. Unlike the past two days, the offense found some success running the ball. After the defense recorded a tackle-for-loss and forced an incomplete pass, Caleb Rubin broke a nice run off the left edge on the next play.

    From there, the offense used a mix of option runs and inside misdirection to run for positive yards on five of the next six plays.

    "Our offense did a good job today," stated Rebowe. "Those running backs can make you miss."

    The safeties have played a key role in the first week of practice. Their job is to make sure everyone in front of them has the correct defensive call and is lined up in the right place.

    "I ask for unbelievable effort from our safeties," added Rebowe. "We have a lot of players returning that saw a lot of playing time last season.

    "It's important to get good communication from the players in the back, helping make sure everybody in the front is on the same page.

    The Cajuns begin their second week of camp on Monday with their second two-a-day practice. The team will scrimmage next week on Wednesday and Saturday.


  9. UL Football Rested Cajuns show more zip in Sunday drills

      For the first time during fall camp the University of Louisiana football team had a morning off Sunday, and it apparently made a difference.

    Coach Rickey Bustle noted the added spring in his players' step during Sunday's mid-afternoon drills, and several of those players agreed.

    "We had some more rest, so we should have been better," Bustle said. "But they were bouncing around a lot better than yesterday."

    "I sure felt a lot better," said junior offensive tackle Jesse Newman. "Getting those few extra hours of sleep helped, and we got a chance to relax and unwind some. I'm pretty sure everyone felt better. It was a lot more fun."

    The Cajuns, now less than three weeks from their Sept. 2 season opener at LSU, had their first two-a-day session on Saturday, and the squad's practice schedule will alternate between once-daily and two-a-days through next weekend.

    "Part of the idea of two-a-days is you're supposed to be fatigued," Bustle said. "You're supposed to be sore and your legs hurting. We've got to push through that."

    The rest of the story

    Dan McDonald

  10. UL Football Practice Report Day 8

      Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns tried to beat the heat again on Monday, as the Cajuns practiced twice under scorching temperatures.

    The morning work began as scheduled at 8am. The 11-period practice in full pads featured a middle drill and a team period covering third down situations.

    "Our intensity tapered off a little bit this morning toward the end of practice," said wide receivers coach Brian Crist. "Our execution was good, but the way we did things wasn't what it needs to be or wasn't what it's been the last few days."

    The defense was dominating the third down battle early, but the offense came back with a charge. The offense was only able to convert one of its first six chances, but rattled off conversions on each of the next four opportunities.

    The afternoon work was slightly shorter than the morning's two-hour practice, as the team worked only in shorts and shoulder pads.

    "It was hot this afternoon, but mentally we tried to get through it," stated Crist.

    Both the morning and afternoon practices featured a double-period of pass skeleton.

    "I think we are throwing it down the field a lot and the catches are being made," added Crist. "The field opens up when you run the ball well. More guys are getting open and the ball is getting spread around more.

    "I'm very pleased with the work ethic of our young guys. They are not experienced, but not using that as an excuse."

    The biggest mismatch in camp, in terms of experience, is the young wide receivers against the veteran defensive backs. Crist sees this as beneficial for his group.

    "The receivers know that they have to compete," explained Crist. "The older guys on the other side of the ball are going to compete and it almost makes the young guys have to compete. They've learned how to work and how to practice."

    Wednesday's scrimmage looms only one practice away. The team will work on Tuesday at 8am and scrimmage on Wednesday at 8:30am.

    "Wednesday will be our first chance to take a good look at the guys and make some evaluations," said Crist. "Training camp is not easy and guys have to continue to fight."


  11. UL Football Bustle gives UL bit of afternoon practice relief

      Rickey Bustle's not getting soft on his Louisiana Ragin' Cajun football team.

    Allowing the players to shed their pads midway through Monday's afternoon practice, and finish out the session in jerseys and shorts, was just part of the master plan.

    "We'd had a good morning practice," Bustle said, "and we had a chance to get in some individual work that we needed during the first part of the afternoon. The rest was mostly mental stuff. The guys didn't know this was coming."

    The Cajuns, going through their second two-a-day session of fall camp, worked out in full gear in Monday's two-hour morning session. They were in shoulder pads and shorts in the afternoon until Bustle told them to remove the shoulder gear during a mid-practice water break.

    Bustle said he wanted his squad to be as fresh as possible for Wednesday's first full-scale scrimmage of fall practice. That session is now scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. in the morning half of Wednesday's two-a-days, following a single session at 8 a.m. today.

    The rest of the story

    Dan McDonald

  12. UL Football Practice Report Day 9

      Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns spent Tuesday morning on the practice field in shorts and shoulder pads for their eleventh workout of the fall.

    The Cajuns covered 11 periods, ending in a team period facing first-and-10 situations. The offense was very productive on first down, picking-up five or more yards of five of the eight plays.

    “There were a few people playing well today,” said Cajuns cornerbacks coach Terry Sims. “As a unit, offensively or defensively, we have a lot of work to do.

    “It’s a combination of things with some guys giving in to the heat and some guys giving in to the bruises. We have to get tougher and push through it.”

    One group that will help the team persevere is the cornerbacks. Each of the five corners on the two-deep is an upperclassman. In addition, that group has a combined 11 letters of experience and 34 career starts.

    “We have some older players at the corner position,” stated Sims. “Our seniors are leading the secondary and the rest of the group has played a lot of football. They have played under the lights and been in some tough situations. Everybody is pushing each other and trying to get it done.

    “The older guys have been to a number of camps and they know what’s expected. We as coaches can’t allow players to think they have the system figured out and then cruise through.

    “Some of the players slacked off today and we have to continue to push.”

    The Cajuns will scrimmage on Wednesday morning at 8:30am. The team is scripted to run a total of 104 plays, 20 of which will be special teams.

    Six players have been listed as doubtful for the scrimmage, with another three listed as questionable.


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Baton Rouge

    Default Re: Practice Report Day 9

    Quote Originally Posted by NewsCopy

    Noone needs to be "slacking off" if they plan to stay on the field with LSU and T-A&M. Powerhouse teams don't slack off.

  14. Default Practice Report Day 11

      Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns worked 11 periods of practice on Thursday afternoon, followed by an extended conditioning session. The team wore shorts and shoulder pad during their fourteenth practice of the fall.

    Practice started with a corrections period from Wednesday morning's scrimmage. The next eight periods had a familiar look before the team spent a 10-minute period installing goal line plays.

    Following the installation period came a brief eight-play varsity period and five field goal attempts. The first field goal attempt misfired due to a bad snap. Holder/punter Brit Framel was able to hit tight end Erik Jones with a 30-yard touchdown pass to the dismay of the defense.

    A conditioning session ended practice, with most position coaches putting their groups through extra conditioning.

    "We came back today with a good mental morning," said Cajuns tight ends coach Troy Wingerter. "We watched film this morning and came out and made the corrections.

    "Practice was crisp. We had some good one-on-one competition against each other."

    The quarterbacks attempted only one pass during Thursday's team period. That total is in stark contrast to all of camp, which has seen numerous players involved in the aerial attack. Wednesday's scrimmage featured 14 different players with at least one reception.

    "The ball is being spread around quite a bit," added Wingerter. "The scrimmage was a pleasant surprise to see how far they've come."

    Wingerter's tight ends have perhaps the most difficult job on the Cajuns offense. Sometimes the tight ends are used as run blockers and other times as receiving targets. Often times the tight end is not even on the field when the Cajuns use a spread formation.

    "We roll a lot of personnel packages and it's tough for the tight ends to get into the flow of the game," stated Wingerter. "My guys are the kind of people that can sit on the sidelines and get cold, but come out 100 percent when called upon.

    "The fact is that we have some good offensive weapons and the tight ends are prepared to do whatever it takes to win football games."

    The Cajuns have only three days left before the end of fall camp and the start of school on Monday. The team will practice twice on Friday before a scrimmage on Saturday at 8:30am. The team will finish camp with a practice on Sunday afternoon.


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