Aug. 6, 2012
After a pair of introductory practices in helmets and shorts, the Rice Owls filled Rice Stadium with the sounds of popping pads as they donned shoulder pads for the first time during their 2012 Fall Camp.
Rice head coach David Bailiff said he and the staff had been pleased with the efforts during the first two practices, but knew that the introduction of shoulder pads to the mix meant that Monday morning's workout would be far more revealing.
"There's a definite change in the mentality of the drills when they pull those pads on," Bailiff said. "The first two days you have to throttle them down a bit to keep them healthy. When they come out here on Day One, they haven't had any real football at a team since the spring. You're moving them around and working on scheme, but at the same time you're doing everything to avoid any unnecessary bumps.
"Today, there's much more football mentality to the drills and you're able work on the things you can't do the first two days," Bailiff added.
One of the primary areas of interest to the staff was to see how the incoming class of recruits reacted to their first time in pads.
"It's fun to watch the freshmen, because this is our first opportunity to work with them," Bailiff said. "Dennis Parks was someone who just jumped out in the first two practices with his speed, his athleticism and his knowledge of the game. But you always wonder what he's going to be like once they put on the pads. He got to run some routes today and get bumped around a little and he's still jumping off the page at you," he stated.
"Every now and then, that's not what happens, so it was good to see him maintain what he was doing," Bailiff continued. "The same with Derek Brown, Brandon Hamilton, and I could go on from there. You really see what a great job Coach K (Jared Kaaiohelo) and his staff did with them this summer. We're in great shape. We're not grinding through these practices. We're out here with a lot of enthusiasm from start to finish.
After concluding the 18 periods of work on Monday morning, Bailiff was pleased to see how his Owls attacked their work schedule.
"I am really pleased where we are after the first three days," he noted. "They've come out here with a great attitude and a blue-collar mentality. When they make mistakes, they put it behind them and keep getting better for August 30. "