Spring Football 2020: Practice Notebook #2

Cold morning in Memorial Stadium

After a day off, the Bears got back on to the field for Spring Football. It was a light day for the Bears with no pads. The day was mostly centered around installing the new offense and executing plays. The defense, on the other hand, looked to focus a bit more on their reads of the offense and their ability to react at the second level. With that let’s dive in.

General Notes

  • Coach Wilcox talked about the new STAR position, and he had some coaching time during individuals, working with the guys that could potentially play the position.

  • Absolutely cold overcast day at Memorial Stadium. Blegh. Days like this I don’t have fun at practice. Just a little rant of mine.

Main Takeaways

  • First two interceptions of Spring Football came today. The first, by way of Cam Bynum who jumped the route on a throw by Jaden Casey. The second by Craig Woodson, a player who we should be watching out for according to Ashtyn Davis. Woodson’s INT was impressive, he tracked the ball perfectly and caught it in traffic along the sideline.

  • There are some really interesting concepts developing from a variety of different personnel looks. I’m still learning quite a bit of the concept in some research and study I’m doing, that coupled with a lot of things we’re not allowed to report on. What I will say, is that if you have a chance to make it out to practice or the Spring Game, come out and watch and let me know what you think.

  • Chase Garbers looked comfortable out there again today. He doesn’t seem to have any issues with snapping under center with the different step dropbacks. The only issue I’ve seen is that he isn’t sure of his throw power with the varied drop backs yet. He underthrew quite a bit of passes today, but on Wednesday he was throwing guys a bit high. I wouldn’t worry too much as its probably that he’s focusing on the footwork and the development of the play, but its something to keep an eye on.

  • The DBs won the majority of the 1-on-1 battles today. They were very good at denying the pass and broke up a significant amount. The PBUs were varied too. Outside, inside, over the middle, deep routes, short passes. I could count at least 1 PBU in each of those categories and then some.

  • A big emphasis today was on the run game and blocking schemes/timing. There’s a lot of movement on the line with guys doing things they weren’t asked to do previously, like asking Mike Saffell to be a pulling center (SAY WHAT?). There’s a lot of interesting stuff here. If Wednesday had a focus on run plays up the middle, today was more about the outside runs and play action. I’d put my money on it changing like this for a few practices on rotation for the rest of the spring just to get all the guys comfortable with any play call.

  • The new STAR position is quite interesting. Being a hybrid SS/OLB role, it confuses the offense into figuring out if he’s playing as a nickel or as a linebacker. This could lead to some interesting trickeration and matchups.

  • In addition to the new STAR position, a player that stands out to me now is Trey Paster. The dude is built like he’s ready to play now, and I did not have a good grasp on how big he was until he was lining up on defense in different positions all over the backfield. He also had some time at the STAR role, which is perfect for him considering his size.

That’s it for me today. Make sure to take a watch of the post-practice presser below for an awesome chat with RB Coach Aristotle Thompson. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our youtube channel and our Facebook page!