BEAR BITES: observations at halfway through preseason practices

Today Coach Paldlino led his 90 charges out onto the field for their eight practice, about half of the way to their game against Bishop McNamara on  Friday, Sept. 9 at 5:00 p.m. during the inaugural Patriot Classic at
Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis, Md . While not pretending to have the expertise and prescience to forecast that the Bears will be the #6 team as DCSportsFan has, a few initial observations about the 2011 Bears:

  • DETAILS, DETAILS, DETAILS– the coaches are spending lots of time working on the little things that matter and that win games. Talks inside the gym about Offensive and defensive formations/terminology/theory, drills that repeatedly emphasize/reinforce footwork with the same level of attention as I learned how to waltz some 50 years ago (still have never stepped on a partner’s foot), tackling broken down into minute elements, but practiced in slow motion, as many as 10 different skill stations on the field (blocking, tackling, stripping the ball, interception drills when the ball is tipped up, pursuit angles, kicking drills where position and coverage were emphasized and more. THESE BOYS WILL BE WELL PREPARED.
  • SPEED– the 2010 team had a lot of speed, but even though the times in the 40 yard dash were not released, the assemblage of fans in the stands clocked a number of times at or below 4.6 seconds and some of those times were recorded by freshmen.
  • RBs and WRs–with only two practices with full contact; it is hard to assess their potential. Myles Allen has put on some weight and has improved his speed. Messrs. (in alphabetical order) Falk, Garrett, Laco,and Wellington have shown promise as FBs and TBs. The WRs are an impressive group (in alphabetical order), including Akinboyewa, Colclough, Fellows, Fullum, Howard (TE), Mc Donald, Sarter, and Wellington.
  • NO FULLUM, HOWARD, JOHNSTONLEHRMAN OR SPIRITOS— these 2010 Bears constituted one of the school’s biggest class of lineman, but though they’re now at Richmond, Elon, Ohio State, Amherst and Dartmouth, we should thank their parents for providing Landon with more sons (Anthony, Jackson, Matthew,[Max has no younger brother]and David respectively). The next edition of these Big Bears are not the 2010 behemoths, but they are all able players. Coach Padalino has some good linemen named (in alphabetical order) Carlton,Desroches, Edwards, Flanagan, Greene,Hunt,  Johnston, Kamara Kindfuller, Murty, Pan, Speigel and Wenzel). There are a number of freshmen who have size. Coach Padalino has not announced who will populate the trenches on defense and offense, but it is clear that they will not be dainty and that the numbers of guards/tackles/centers/nose tackles/D ends will be ample.
  • DBs, LBs– many of the players will play both ways and the defense has had plenty of time. Names like (alphabetical order) like Sharp, Colclough, Garrett, Laco, Lynch, Pena,Sarter, Strabo and Wellington)  have spent time wearing the yellow pinneys that distinguish them from the offense in scrimmages.
  • CLASS OF 2015— they are big, they are athletic, they have speed AND THEY HAVE SPIRIT!!! Coach Derwinski takes the freshman to parts of the field away from Coach Padalino, I suspect, to hide his boys from the Varsity Roster. Even though they are distant, their energy and enthusiasm is evident. Their first hitting practice was the most fun to watch– every collision was greeted with brotherly cheers from the frosh not in the scrimmage. the kids genuinely seem to like each other and enjoy their play. This may be a group to watch. They will play as a JV team and should have some help from the surfeit of talent among the upperclassmen. There are no freshmen mentioned in the above positional analyses, but it would not be surprising to see a few ’15 numerals on varsity jackets at the end of the Fall  season.
  • KICKING– Coach Farnstrom has an easier task this year in that Alexander Mockett will be both the punter and placekicker. The punts seem to hang longer in the air and the placements have ranged beyond the 30 yard line. Johnny Cobb provides some back up and it looks as though the frosh may have a kicker, too.
  • No more StA 5/6/2 defenses— it seemed as though the Bulldogs had 13 players within yards of the offensive line last year. That will not happen this year. As noted, there are a number of speed burners on this team (as there were last year). Coach Padalino has allowed his QBs to throw the ball downfield in these practices. Schnider, Pena and Hartman have unleashed passes from the pocket that have found their target 40+ yards down the field. One compelling image– Bear #5 throws a high pass to the back shoulder of a well covered receiver, #22 leaps high into the air (a good three feet above the well positioned defender) and catches the ball as he positions his feet to be sure that he is in bounds (come to Saturday’s scrimmage against Walt Whitman to learn who the numbers are).
  • One telling moment– a well designed, full tackling drill placed 4 offensive players (1RB and 3 linemen) against a 3man D set (2 lineman and one LB). First play #32 follows his blocks, but there is a major collision with #45. Next play #32 turns the corner and scores. Last of the series #63 gets a paw on the runner before #2 gets momentum. These are some very aggressive/physical plays, then  #32 and #45 head simultaneously for water. Some worry in the stands that the play may not have finished; the two boys slap each other on the back and  clasp each other hands in a sign of good hit. Those are Bears!!!

More to come, GO BEARS!!!

Published in: on August 24, 2011 at 6:22 am  Leave a Comment  

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