September 1, 2010
Game week injury for UC
The Bearcats are hoping for a strong week of game preparation. The hard hitting has tapered off a bit as the feisty players ramp up for their 2010 debut.
Spirits were high and many were giddy early Wednesday evening. D.J. Woods even caught a spectacular pass one armed in the corner of the end zone.
Many new starters are excited about proving they belong on the field.
"I think everybody is ready, especially defensively," said returning starter Walter Stewart. "After what we went through last year we are just ready to get out there and prove we are a legitimate defense in the Big East."
Overall the team looks extremely healthy and suffered just one substantial blow (Solomon Tentman) through all of fall camp.
"No new injuries, pretty healthy," said Coach Butch Jones.
While Dominique Battle nears his return to the starting lineup another black shirt joined the walking wounded.
Robby Armstrong sat on the golf cart for the first twenty minutes of practice with two bags of ice on top of his right knee and one underneath.
During the second half Armstrong did situps of all varieties. He wants to be in top shape as soon as his knee heals.
While few noticed he was absent, Stewart sure did.
While the defense walked through play after play Stewart was repeatedly called back to the field by Linebacker Coach John Jancek.
Every other starting defender got a breather from the hot sun. Filling Armstrong's spot during the walk thru was Stewart. Clearly the two deep will need an alteration should Armstrong miss any meaningful amount of time.
"It would be either (Ryan) Paxon or we would probably just run nickel," said Stewart.
The injury to Tentman already depleted the linebacker unit. There are other LB freshman on the team, who might be able to plug holes.
Cory Mason put together a fine effort the last few weeks catching the eye of teammate Deven Drane.
Freshman cornerback Drane thought Mason looked really solid. The immediate LB solution by the coaching staff was moving fullback Colin Lozier back to his natural position.
Lozier has not played linebacker in awhile, but works very hard and learns very quickly. Between Lozier and obadiah Cheatham UC has a couple of backup linebackers ready to help.
One seasoned option is Collin McCafferty. McCafferty has DB Coach Kerry Coombs on his side, as Coach Coombs routinely notices McCafferty's work on special teams.
Whomever backs up the outside linebackers, the expectations can not drop off at all. Playing time becomes precious now, with only 70 players travelling, fewer likely to play.
The days of everybody in the kickball lineup gets a turn are over.
Every player knows that when they get on the field now, they have to perform.
As John Fitzgerald Kennedy said, 'To whom much is given, much is expected.'
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