Countdown to Kickoff
There are only 12 more days until the Cougars' season-opener against Northern Iowa. I can already smell the kettle corn.
Coach Mendenhall announced during this afternoon's team meeting the names of the 2008 team captains. The captains were selected by the team.
Captains for the 2008 season will be David Nixon and Jan Jorgensen from the defense and Max Hall and Travis Bright from the offense.
Coach said he doesn't think the team could have picked four better guys.
Freshman Daniel Sorensen was moved from safety to linebacker on Monday. Sorensen stood out during Saturday's scrimmage and Coach Mendenhall said he likes the way the young freshman plays defense.
"Daniel Sorensen was one of the highlights of the scrimmage on Saturday, not just on special teams, but also the way he’s playing defense. When you look at the mold of who we’re looking for at that spot, we think his future will be there. He’s not afraid and he’s anxious to contribute. He’s already shown that he’ll be a special teams player at least, so this gives us a chance to train him for now and the future.”
Kelly Bills Update
Due to a number of concussions during his career, Coach Mendenhall said he had a tough decision to make regarding Kelly's future.
“This was his fourth concussion in his career. I’m responsible for him, and regardless of medical opinion, it will be hard for me to allow him to perform again. The risk is too great. I shared that sentiment with him."
Mendenhall met with Kelly today and determined that while his football playing career is over, he had an interest in being involved in the football program.
"We're going to try and find a way for him to be involved. He wants to be involved and pursue a career in coaching. We've talked with our compliance people and I think we'll be able to work something out."
Both Kelly an his brother KC have had careers cut short due to injury -- a situation Coach Mendenhall hasn't taken lightly.
"It's because they are such hard workers, such excellent young men that has made this so difficult. I can say that I am honored to have been their coach."
After coming in to fall camp a few days later than the rest of the team, Bernard Afutiti has already made an impact.
“I’ve been impressed, I hadn’t expected that with his late arrival to camp and being a junior college player," Mendenhall said. "Those two things in combination don’t usually lend themselves to being ready, but his athleticism, his knowledge, his ability to learn and his demonstrated ability to play has been impressive. He’ll play this year.”
Today marked the final day of two-a-days. The team will practice again on Tuesday, and is scheduled to hold a scrimmage on Wednesday. The team will take the day off on Thursday while the coaches sequester themselves to prepare the game plan for Northern Iowa. While the team won't practice, they will lift during the day, according to Mendenhall.
Matt Ah You
Linebacker Matt Ah You missed this morning's practice due to a shoulder stinger he suffered last week. He had an MRI today that was negative. Ah You was at practice this afternoon and worked out with the team.
David Tafuna returned to full action today after suffering a concussion last week. G Pittman has not been cleared and had a heavy workout in the weight room during practice. He will be evaluated on a daily basis. Receiver Spencer Hafoka is also recovering from a concussion. He is being evaluated and should be cleared in the next day or two.
The rash of concussions has been of concern to Coach Mendenhall.
"We're looking for what the source might be," he said. "My guess right now is that the helmets are not being inflated properly. Sometimes the players get a little lackadaisical; they like their helmets to fit looser. I think that may be it, but I'm not positive, and we will continue to look in to the situation."
Brandon Bradley came up with a fantastic interception to end the morning practice session.
Landon Jaussi hauls in a touchdown reception despite Brandon Bradley's best effort. (Photo by Scott Fitzgerald)