We seem to have worked out some of the bugs with the blog site, so hopefully we will be up and running. I added a few more photos from yesterday's practice, as well as a few from this morning's practice. It sure made it nice practicing in the 80-degree weather, as opposed to the 100-degree day yesterday.
A few things to blog about this evening ... first, if you haven't already heard, we will be conducting our first player chat tomorrow (Wednesday) at about 12:45 p.m. (MT). We had scheduled it for 12:30; however, Dennis will be doing a phone interview with USA Today at 12:30. If we're a little late getting started, please be patient. You can go on now, I believe, and ask your questions. You don't have to wait for the chat to start.
Unfortunately, we won't be able to answer all the questions. As of right now, there are some pretty good question. Unfortunately, Mark, I don't think Dennis will be able to answer your question about injuries, but I will attempt to later in this evening's blog. We're looking forward to the chat and think it will be a lot of fun.
When it comes to giving out injury reports, there are a couple considerations we must always make. First, we have to make sure the student-athlete is aware of the situation and we try to make sure the player has had a chance to talk to his family; however, that's not always possible. But, our hope is that the family finds out about injuries from the student-athlete, the medical staff or the coaching staff, as opposed to the newspaper, television, or this blog. In addition there are Federal Laws that govern what we can and can't say.
Having said that, Coach Mendenhall, our trainer Kevin Morris and myself agree that it is always best to be open, honest, and up front about the information we provide media outlets. I can tell you if Coach Mendenhall says an injury will take two to four weeks to recover from, it will usually take two to four weeks to recover from. Good or bad news, he'll not shy away from it. As he says, "It is what it is."
My feeling is no matter how you spin it, the results will eventually be known, so why not be up front with the information we are authorized to release.
So, having said all that ... here's today's injury update:
Tom Sorensen has a shoulder injury. At this point, we simply don't know if it will or will not require surgery. Nevertheless, we have been told it is looking like it will take four to six weeks to recover.
As you are aware, Austin Collie has a stress fracture in his leg. He is frustrated that he can not be out practicing, but he is upbeat and confident that he will be ready for the first game. He'll be continually monitored to evaluate his progress. As I learn more, I will keep his status updated.
Fui Vakapuna has tight hamstring. He is officially listed as day-to-day, which means he's getting reps, but they are being cautious to make sure his hamstring doesn't get worse. He is involved in practice and is working hard to rehab that hammy.
Matt Bauman, who is no longer riding a scooter, is getting better and better. He had his walking boot off at practice yesterday and today. He'll continue to be evaluated and put back in to action when he's good to go. It's expected he should be ready for the first game as well.
After practice this morning, I talked to Coach Weber about the depth at offensive line. He said with Sorensen out, Dallas Reynolds will move to center. That's a really good thing because that means Matt Reynolds now moves in to the starting five. Both Dallas and Matt are monsters. Honestly, I wonder what the food bill in the Reynolds' home was like when they were all living at home.
(By the way ... I always get asked if I am related to Coach Reynolds. The answer is yes; however, it's through my wife. My wife and Coach Reynolds' mother are related, somehow.)
OK, so now that we have had our family history lesson for the day, let's get back to the offensive line. So, the current starting five are Matt Reynolds at left tackle, Ray Feinga at left guard, Dallas Reynolds at center, Travis Bright at right guard and David Oswald at right guard.
That is an impressive line. They average 326.4 pounds per man and measure in at nearly 6-foot-6.
By the way, someone told Ray Feinga that there was someone on a message board somewhere who thought the O-line looked fat. Here is his response:
This morning's team meeting was a little different than normal. Starting today, the players will be conducting the team meeting. Each meeting lasts about 10-15 minutes and contains a motivational thought that is nearly often related to a spiritual component.
Coach Mendenhall explained that the players would be conducting the team meetings because he wants the players to take ownership of the program. He said, "Involvement creates ownership. Ownership creates leadership. Leadership fosters change."
By taking over certain aspects of the program, it becomes the player's team. And, in ownership, there is a sense of pride, an increase in commitment and dedication, as well as accountability.
The offensive line conducted this morning's meeting. Nick Alletto talked to the team about enduring to the end. Quoting Doctrine & Covenants 50:5, he expressed the desire to "endure actively, not passively."
Travis Bright then spoke and reminded the team how important the last individual effort is in any situation. He said, "You can't take your last effort back. If you don't give a full effort, you can't take it back. Imagine what we would be feeling like if those guys didn't give a 100 percent to block the field goal against UCLA."