FOOTBALL: Learning The Ropes
Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 21, 2013 01:03
Al Louis-Jean was lined up five yards from where he needed to be, and as the ball snapped, so did Kevin Lempa. Boston College’s new defensive backs coach ran at Louis-Jean and ushered him to his appropriate position in the flat with an exuberant amount of screamed instructions.
BC kicked off its first spring practice on Tuesday afternoon under new head coach Steve Addazio and his staff, and there were some initial growing pains.
“[There was] a lot of anxiety I would say, because everyone’s nervous,” said rising senior linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis. “Making sure they get in the right spot. I messed up a bunch of times at the beginning of practice which allowed me to correct them at the end of practice. Everybody’s just getting their nerves out right now and is excited for next season.”
Addazio was ready for the mistakes and acknowledged that his team has a long spring ahead to make improvements.
“I thought [the players] really had great attitude, great effort, you can tell they’re straining to do the right thing,” Addazio said. “We’ve got a long way to go, but if you have great effort and you’re willing to fight through it each day will get better. Like I said to them after practice, where we are now and where we’ll be at the end of the spring will be two different things.”
Players flew around the field to get in the right position and execute each drill properly, and even the veterans were a little out of sync at first.
“All the coaches are different coaches,” said rising senior wide receiver Alex Amidon. “With new coaches and a new practice system, it’s really high paced. Kind of a trial by fire with the new offense and everything. I think the coaches are just seeing who wants to work hard. The first couple days it’ll be like this, but after that you’ll start seeing a lot less mistakes.”
The Eagles enter the spring after a winter session of workouts that Addazio said would be the toughest the players had ever had before they began.
“It was a tough offseason,” Amidon said. “The workouts and the runs with coach Piraino, the new strength coach, were real tough. It’s good. It brought us together really well.”
“We’ve had a great winter session,” Addazio said. “I saw great growth in the winter session, and now you’re trying to apply it to football. I don’t know how you could ever function without this, especially if you’re a new staff coming in.”
After spending the summer in the weight room and watching tape, Tuesday provided the first opportunity to run full drills. There will be 15 spring practices total, and Addazio plans on spreading them out over five weeks, practicing on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday until the spring game on April 20.
“We’re really on a really great, slow Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday practice schedule,” Addazio said. “The reason we did that is to maximize so that you can have a practice day and then you have a great film study instillation day. If you put too many practices in a row then you don’t have a chance to really go through the film with the players and really study on this thing. So this schedule is really put together to take advantage of every second. This is a pace for learning.”
The slow schedule also gives the team time to work out the kinks in the brand new system.
“It was definitely a little hectic,” Pierre-Louis said. “Everybody’s learning something new. It’s almost like we’re being retaught how to play football. It was a crazy practice, but the defense started to pick it up at the end and the offense brought a lot of energy. I’m excited for how the spring game is going to look once we get everything nice and settled.”
Addazio will use the time between the start of spring practice and the spring game to take a full evaluation of the team’s personnel.
“I want to see the fundamentals at every position increase and get better,” Addazio said. “It’s really important in the spring that your fundamentals are better. Then I want to be able to evaluate who our personnel is and make sure that we’re doing the right things to maximize who we have, and it’s really hard for me until I get into spring ball—we have a series of what we’re trying to do, but right around that mid-spring ball point you say to yourself okay, we’ve made some good decisions and maybe we’ve got to make some different decisions. We’ve got to do the best we can to maximize who we are and I don’t know that really yet. I won’t have an idea of that until we get into this thing probably about five or six practices.”