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August 4, 2013
In the first practice with pads for the Bulldogs, the level of intensity was extremely high as players saw their first contact of fall camp.
Coach Tim DeRuyter was pleased with the level of physicality and competition he saw on Sunday, however tempers flared as the physical play began to pick up.
"Obviously things were much more physical today," DeRuyter said. "I thought we started a little bit slow, but when we got into our team period the physicality picked up. It got a little chippy out there, which isn't always bad to see, but we have to be smart. We had a couple guys end up on the ground and when you're in half pad days you don't want that to happen."
Being smart is one of the things the 'Dogs are working on as camp continues, playing smart and keeping guys safe and healthy in practice will be important throughout the season.
"At times we're probably too intense," DeRuyter said. "I mean if there is such a thing, they enjoy being physical they just need to be smart. We got some young guys who probably haven't played at this intensity before, and so we have to teach them how to play high and stay on their feet."
DeRuyter was impressed by a few of the veterans yet again today, as well as one of the new Bulldogs.
"I think both sides of the ball are doing some good things you know," he said. "Davante [Adams] and Harp [Josh Harper] were making big time plays on the ball, but they need to take better care of it after. Our defense did a good job of stripping them after the catch twice. LJ [Jones] got a pick, but Myles [Carr] has to make better decisions throwing it.
"Overall I thought we're doing some good things for the third day, last minute and a half drill the offense we went down the field and our rookie kicker, in a Geronimo situation, with no time left, who hasn't really practiced, went out and hit a field goal so that was impressive to see."
The offensive line had a tough practice on Saturday and heard about it from coach Cameron Norcross and came into today's practice with something to prove. Austin Wentworth spoke about how the offensive line is coming along.
"Today we corrected the mistakes coach wanted us to correct, but you know, every day you correct something," he said. "There's always something new to work on, but that's how we get better."
The linemen are glad to be in pads and finally seeing some contact, however Wentworth understands the need to get better.
"We were hitting out there, but it was no where near where it needs to be when we're in pads like this," Wentworth said. "We need to be full speed especially on the line and today we had some moments where we were hitting well, but there was still some moments where guys were going half speed or were a little nervous to hit."
The Bulldogs' linebackers have been impressive in camp thus far and returning a group of experienced guys who are not only great athletes but strong leaders on the field.
"Being a leader all starts with my dad," said linebacker Jeremiah Toma. "I was raised leading not following, and making sure the guys around me are going the right direction. It's really more about the guys around me than myself. When people remember that, it makes working as a team easier."
Toma also praised the new defensive system as the main reason for the success of the linebacker corps.
"It's really helped us show our athleticism," he said. "Having us drop back 20 yards in the middle of the field, him trusting us to be able to guard receivers and still play the run -- it tells us coach sees our athleticism and he wants to use us."
The Bulldogs continue in shoulder pads and helmets until Tuesday when they go full pads. Anticipate a continued level of physicality and intensity as many people are still battling for their spots on the depth chart.
Steven Morehart is a new staff writer for FSBulldogs.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @StevenMorehart.
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