Days to Kickoff: 5
In Brief: Owls were up early and on the field at 8 a.m. on Saturday in an effort by head coach David Bailiff to get in a quality work day and avoid the heat and humidity of later in the day and also to give the team an extended recovery period before they return to practice on Sunday night when they will drill under the lights in preparation for Thursday's 7 p.m. kickoff at Western Kentucky.
School Ties: With the start of high school football this weekend, a new crop of freshmen experienced their first weekend of being interested alumni of their former teams. It's likely none of them anticipated Friday's opener more than wide receiver Kaylen Granson, who helped lead Austin Westlake to a state title last December. After Friday's workout at Rice Stadium, Granson was quick to jump on a phone app to follow the action as Westlake defeated Katy 32-29. "I had my little Chap App on and was cheering the entire time," Granson said. "It's definitely a little weird to be listening to your high school team playing someone and you're not there. You kind of re-imagine your last season, it really hits you with a feeling of nostalgia. When you are playing the best team in the state, I think (Westlake) came out with something to prove and say 'we're another playoff team, we may have graduated a lot of people, but we are here to make our mark' and they sure as heck did. I was talking Austin (Williams) and giving it to him because Lake Travis (where Williams had played) is our old-time rival and they lost to Katy but we beat them. We're not too serious about it, but we have a lot of fun with it.
Quotes of the Day:
Free Safety J.T. Ibe: "I feel good and think I've had a good camp. As a team we look even better. I didn't play in the spring, so this is the first time I've really had a chance to see a lot of what we were doing (from the field). Our defense is flying to the ball. (sitting out in the spring) I don't; think practice every becomes less of a grind, but you definitely learn to appreciate (practice) more. Football is a lot more than the physical part and being away I was still able to keep up mentally. I think the entire team has grown so much going through a spring and through this camp. Coach (Thurmond) talks about trust. Playing defense--and offense too--is all about trusting your brother next to you that he will be in his gap. When you trust your teammates and understanding the defense, that's the whole point. You can play so much faster when you understand the system. (on game week and any change in the locker room) For me personally, I come out to every practice like it's game day. I'm going to go hard and play fast and I think the rest of our team does that too. "
Up Next: The team will get an extended break for recovery on Saturday and during the day on Sunday before returning to the field on Sunday night in order to get a practice under the lights, starting 7 p.m. in order to mirror kickoff time on Thursday.