JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - As the second week of spring practice comes to an end, the dust is finally starting to settle, and things are becoming more routine.
The first two weeks of spring for the Dolphin football team was as to be expected for a first year head coach ... frenetic! There was uneasiness as players and coaches began to be accustomed to a new practice schedule, lift times, and meeting times. The first few days brought a lot of confusion and unfamiliar vibes as the coaching staff and players were getting used to being on the same field together. Adjustments spilled onto the field as the coaching staff implemented new drills and play strategies, but just as the off-field schedule became more standard, so did practice.
Each day another layer of unfamiliarity seems to float away as the chemistry within the team becomes better. When walking out to practice, the most obvious change is the practice field itself, which instead of one long field, it has been cut in half into two separate 60-yard fields. Football fundamentals (tackling, carrying, etc.) were a key component the first weeks of spring practice, with the biggest being possession of the football. "The Football" has been key in every aspect of the new practice set-up, whether it's holding on to the ball or ripping it out. In practice, if there is a football in your hand, it better be locked-in because at any moment a random person can be lurking around waiting to rip the ball out of your grasp, almost like a game of cat and mouse.
One thing that hasn't changed however is the competiveness of practice. One solid hit or acrobatic catch could turn practice into a battleground against the offense vs. the defense. A tackling circuit, followed by an hour and 30 minutes of tackling drills, and one-on-one gives ample opportunity to ignite the spark that heats up the team to end practice.
Unfortunately for me, my battle has been put on pause this spring because I strained my groin. Now, instead of fighting in the friendly dual between the offense and defense, I have to sit back and observe. The only positive that comes from spectating practice is that I get to watch trust grow within the team and coaching staff. With a couple more weeks until the spring game (Mar. 19, at 7:30 p.m.), I am certain more strides will be made, and more trust will develop.