"It looked lively out there today," said head coach Tommy Tuberville.
He wasn't kidding. Up to this point in fall camp, coaches and spectators raved about the athleticism and speed of practices. Not Monday; the first day in shoulder pads gave onlookers a glance at how physical the Red Raiders will be in 2011, and they didn't disappoint.
"It's a lot more physical," freshman tight end Jace Amaro told reporters after practice. "Blocking is more technique - you can't really overpower everyone anymore. I think once I get that technique down, it will be a big factor for me, too."
With speed infused from the freshman class and the physicality of practices being taken up a notch, some would infer this to be a team putting the pieces together already. However, Tuberville doesn't agree.
"We're a long ways away from being a good football team," said the second-year whistle. "We've got a lot of work to do, but what you try to do is create two separate teams who compete against each other...sooner or later, we'll start coming together as a team."
While the passing game looks to have much of its timing down - a tribute to the offseason and player-led 7-on-7 workouts - Monday morning's practice was predominantly highlighted by the defensive line and the pressure put on the quarterbacks.
Both lines should become increasingly more physical when players suit up in full pads for the first scrimmage Saturday.
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