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Camp Wars: The Offense Strikes Back

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With their infinite wisdom and irrefutable knowledge, football coaches concoct myriad means to balance the scales between their offenses and defenses. Varying play-calling, formations and cadence are sufficiently complex options to slow an attacking and veteran defense when film study reveals that defense to have a decisive advantage over a discombobulated offense. However simple methodology is as effective, with personnel changes one obvious adjustment.

Keep Scott Solomon anchored to the sideline.

With egos bruised from the beating absorbed the previous evening, the Owls' offense showed signs of recovery on Tuesday night when the team worked out in shells for a second time. The unit succumbed to pressure less frequently, which in turn yielded an improved percentage of completed passes. Deflated one night earlier, the offense strode off the turf invigorated, leaving all to ponder the effort put forth by the staff to turn the tables on an advanced defense.

"At this age when someone has a bad performance, you always know that the very next practice they're going to be more focused and thinking about what they're going to do because they have pride," Owls coach David Bailiff said. "Tonight we really were able to take a lot more from that video, from the meeting room and really see us make that step in the right direction."

And then with a wink-wink and a nudge-nudge, Bailiff made a passing reference to Solomon, who was so utterly disruptive Monday that he was held out of team drills Tuesday. Keeping Solomon sidelined is akin to tying a ferocious pit bull to a weathered pipe with a pair of shoestrings. Solomon spent most of the 11-on-11 drills standing at the ready, helmet on, waiting agitatedly for the green light to smack someone. He never received clearance, and make no mistake, that decision made resuscitation significantly easier for the shaken offense.

As an added bonus to Solomon being forcefed down time, freshman tackle Alex Lowry saw extended reps during live action. Fighting gamely with his brute strength as his lone ally, Lowry (6-1, 295) nudged a step closer to marrying his physical gifts with the mental stamina and technical skills he'll need to make an impact as an expected rotation player this season.

"I've got to improve on being mentally fresh when I'm in on a long drive, but overall since Day 1 my get-off has gotten a lot better," Lowry said. "I'm learning a lot from coach (Darin) Eliot and coach (Michael) Slater about pass rushing, keeping hands free and (having) loud hands and active feet. I hope I'm progressing. I feel I'm progressing over time, and that has a lot to do with the coaches.

"It's a lot in the tank to know that you need to be ready to go. It's kind of inspiring. You've got to know everything you've got to do, and it pushes you to go a little bit harder every day to understand exactly what's going on."

What wasn't an optical illusion was the shiftiness and aggression tailback Tyler Smith displayed. The catastrophic knee injury Smith suffered in 2007 is a distant memory, and his performance was another validating moment in the call to name Smith the starter last spring.

"Some of those jump cuts he made make you go, 'Wow!'" Bailiff said.

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6 Comments

Just like old times!

Good to hear Tyler is doing well. How have the other RB's looked?

Good to see this set up. Twitter's not really my thing.

Yay, blog!

Yay, MK!

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