By Jay Coulter
Tommy Tuberville got up on his high horse at Tuesday’s practice and onlookers said it wasn’t pretty. Tuberville called out the play of his wide receivers, which had problems catching the ball.
This is not the news you want to hear with about two weeks to go before your opener.
“Today wasn’t one of our better practices,” said Tuberville. “We didn’t execute very well. The effort was good, but at this point you have to keep your concentration a little longer, and try to make yourself better. You have to like this game. You have to like practice. If you don’t, then you’re not going to get much better.
“Defensively, we stood out a little today, but offensively we’re just not strong enough mentally to make many plays. There were some good points, but offense is all about consistency and there wasn’t much out there today. We’ll start working on that tomorrow.”
Wide receivers coach Greg Knox said it was the worst practice by his receivers in five years.
“It was not a good day,” Knox said. “It was not a good day for us. It was a lack of concentration. We put in a few new things, and they were more focused on the movement part of things than catching the ball.”
Knox was so upset with his group that he kept them an extra hour after practice, something he rarely does. He had the receivers running routes, requiring them to catch five in a row before moving on. Onlookers said that at the end, the players could hardly stand.
Offensive coordinator Al Borges says it’s the simple things that both the receivers and quarterbacks aren’t doing.
“The problem is we’re not making some routine plays, whether it’s receivers or quarterbacks. It’s not just receivers. It’s both of them. When guys are open, we’ve got to hit them. When we have pass protection, we’re not completing as many balls as we should. We are behind in our passing game right now, but we’re going to catch up. We’re going to keep working at it until we get it straight. We stayed after practice (Tuesday) and threw some balls. We threw some balls today. We’re going to get to the point where we can make those plays in our sleep, but right now we’re not there.”
Let’s hope that a lot of this is fatigue from the two-a-days in the 100 degree heat. Tuberville has been sounding the alarms in recent days about the readiness of his team.
It’s hard to know whether this is coach speak or something that we need to be concerned about. He has to be feeling the pressure with two tough openers out of the gate followed a killer road schedule.
There’s no question this team is extremely talented. But they are also very young in a lot of important places. With two weeks before kickoff this team remains a mystery. Time will tell.