I know I have been beating the "tempo" drum all week since I watched the Buccaneers practice on Monday, but I read to articles this evening and the contrast was pretty stark. I just wanted to kind of throw excerpts of both up for you to compare and contrast.
First we have a write up about the Bucs' practice today.
Today at Bucs camp, where there was just a single afternoon practice, coach Raheem Morris stopped the workout and deviated from his practice script with a full-speed, full-squad, live tackling period.
Morris said it shouldn't have been necessary, but he felt it was needed to get his players' attention.
"We just have to understand consistency in our tempo," Morris said. "We have a young football team. It's hard for these guys to get out there and really get it going unless they're going live. Then I make them go live and they want to keep going live. But you can't practice like that either. You have to get that point across. You have to be able to come out and play at a high tempo without taking each other to the ground. We need to keep each other healthy so we can make it through the season."
Morris is trying to use live drills selectively, perhaps more so than in his rookie season last year.
"These guys went live yesterday and they want to do it again today and they're asking for more tomorrow," he said. "I guess it's a good thing, but I'd like for them to come out with a better tempo right off the bat.
"We just have to increase the consistency of the tempo and kind of self-motivate. It's the approach. It becomes a routine. Somewhere in your mind as a player, you can't let it become routine.
Next we have a write up about Rod Marinelli and what he is doing as defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears.
"I really like our tempo. I really sense the pace and we have to be a great, conditioned defense," Marinelli said Thursday. "Some of that is on them, by how hard they practice. We have a structure of our practice, how hard they can push, how well they can pursue, the conditioning is a big part of what we do. We want to be a highly conditioned defense, and the only way you do it is run.
"The thing I want to continually emphasize is our tempo and pace and how physical we have to be. It's a mindset, all of that is a mindset of day-to-day work. You have to come out every day and it's got to be consistent. It can't be up one day and down the next. I'm just looking for that toughness of mind, which represents consistency."
I understand that what you really want is all of your players to be self motivated but at the same time we all know that not all of them are. In my mind how much effort the players give corresponds to how much effort the coaches demand. And while I am not trying to bash Coach Morris or his staff it just seems to me that being a little more demanding wouldn't hurt.
Guys can get fresh legs once the season starts, training camp is the time to break them down and see what they can do under duress.