O-Line and WR's Key for WMU Offense in Day 3
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Day three of WMU football camp featured shoulder pads for the first time this season. With full padded practice beginning on Friday, Wednesday's practice foreshadowed what was to come and set the tone for the rest of the season.
The group that benefited most from shoulder pads was the offensive and defensive linemen who, during 1-on-1 and team drills, were able to really go after each other and mimic a game-like situation. Which is helpful for the offensive line the next three weeks as they begin to solidify themselves as a dominant unit.
"It's nice to finally get in some pads and it feel's more realistic," said senior Dann O'Neill.
The offensive line will be a big part of the team's success this season and will look to cut down on pre-snap penalties that hurt them last year. The o-line gained more momentum towards the end of practice and during 1-on-1 drills and showed a sense of chemistry that will benefit the team dramatically.
"We all hang out a lot, and that really creates a bond." O'Neill said. "When we came together, we decided what we wanted to do for the season."
The offensive line gained depth as well when transfer John Deyo from Michigan State decided to be a part of the potent Bronco offense.
"He's looking strong and is fitting in well," O'Neill said.
Another big piece to the WMU offensive puzzle this year will be the play of the young receiving corps. A corps that has been dominant in the Mid-American Conference over the past couple of seasons, but this year will be a challenge with a lot of young talent at the position.
"We're all just getting into the film room, play fast and cut down on the mistakes," said senior Eric Monette. "It's crucial that we all play well in our roles."
After the dropped balls and mental errors made in Tuesday's practice, the young group came out on Wednesday looking like a dominant force to be reckoned with in the MAC. Senior leader Monette, who will potentially be the number one receiving threat for the offense this season, lit the fire under the young group.
"We had to remember why we are here," Monette said. "Compete was the word of the day."
Today's practice gave all players the chance to get more physical with each other and start preparing themselves and each other for a more game-like atmosphere. For football players however, each one thrives to get the opportunity to get into pads.
"It's more comfortable for me personally, " O'Neill said.
"I like it a lot more, it's what I'm used to," said Monette. "It's more realistic and fun."
And isn't having fun what this game is all about?
Nathan Palcowski is staff writer for www.wmubroncos.com and will be covering the Broncos during fall camp and beyond.