Practice heats up for Cougars
The hot afternoons might keep some inside, but for the Cougar football team it’s just another day of practice.
"As long as it’s below 100 (F), shoot, its easy living," head coach Art Briles said. "We had a good workout.
One aspect of the team that Briles wants to utilize this season in addition to the offense and defense is special teams.
"The thing I’m really pleased with is that I think special teams is going to be the best it’s been in five years," Briles said. "We got our snapper back, got our holder back, got some good return people, so we really feel really good."
Briles said special teams will play a vital role in adapting to the NCAA’s decision to move the kickoff from the 35-yard line to the 30-yard line.
"We understand that the two most important teams on the field, as far as the change in the rules, are kickoff and kickoff return teams, and we’ve got guys serious about being great in those positions," Briles said.
The team is watching film of the University of Oregon team as they prepare for their first game of the season.
Neither Coach Briles nor the players are worried about the Cougars’ first game being away and against a nationally ranked team.
"You’ve got to train like any other game," offensive lineman Dustin Dickinson said. "You play who you are. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing- you stick to your game plan."
Briles says experience and lessons learned in the past will bolster the team’s success.
"What we do is rely on our maturity, rely on our confidence and rely on our program. We’ve been to that bridge before and we haven’t crossed it all the way, but this time we plan on getting to the other side," he said.
Playing the first game of the season away from home isn’t ideal for the Cougars, but they are making it work for them.
"Starting off with an away game really doesn’t matter because we’ve got a good team," Dickinson said. "We know it’s going to be loud, so we’re taking extra precautions and going with the silent count, but we’re not really worried about it at all."
In fact, some players are looking forward to stepping off the plane in Oregon.
"It’s just a little warm (in Houston)," Dickinson said before gulping down Powerade after Tuesday’s practice. "It’s going to be beautiful in Oregon, 65 degrees. We might wear long sleeves. It’s going to feel like Christmas."