No answers yet for Warriors
PEOPLE ask me, "You've been to UH football practice. How do they look?"
A difficult question.
How should I know? They look tired. It's tough to tell much when watching training camp. It's just practice. ("We're talking about practice. Practice! Not a game. Not a game. Practice. Practice!") You really don't know anything unless you're out there every day. And if you are there every day you can easily get seduced into thinking this is the greatest team of all time because you aren't seeing any of the other teams from around the country in comparison. Plus, it's hot.
This is why the coaches have cameras and watch the tapes over and over again. They're looking for clues, too.
Every team looks great in training camp, against itself. "Every other team in America says it had a great summer in the weight room, too," ESPN.com's Pat Forde wrote recently. "Every other team in America had great attendance at 'voluntary' summer workouts, too. Every other team in America says the chemistry and attitude are better than last year, too."
So, really, we don't know. Not yet. This offense should look unstoppable in practice. (I can't even write that word now without hearing Allen Iverson in my ear.) Anything less would be cause for concern. Like yesterday, when the Hawaii defense made play after play in passing drills. DBs stepping forward, batting balls, bumping guys, arriving. Shoving tired receivers to the ground. The ball bouncing, harmlessly.
But don't panic. I think it's the tired. It looks like it's more fatigue taking effect than anything, the great equalizer. "Training camp legs."
Every team, in training camp, also has off days.
The only guy on the field who looks like he's got his legs now is sophomore slot Michael Washington. He is operating on another gear. Playing at a different speed. Full speed. Somehow, he is still fresh.
"You gotta work through it," he said. "It ain't -- I mean, I'm hurting just like anybody else. You've just got to fight through it. ... I've got shin splints out the world, a weight dropped on my toe like last Monday. I rolled my ankle."
Oh. Even this is not what it first appears.
"But that's just all pain," Washington said. "That's part of the game. You've got to fight through it.
"My grandparents told me never give up. That's what my mom told me."
But when his legs are killing him and his tank is on E, how does he summon this extra reserve?
"I know I'm behind Davone (Bess)," he said.
See? That's what you see at training camp. You see who's battling. You see who on your team is still bringing it when things get rough. You see how the depth chart is shaking out. Training camp is an internal thing. You see what you've got. How will what you've got do against anyone else?
How does this compare with the outside world?
That's a more difficult question.
Yesterday, they did 1-on-1 drills. I love 1-on-1 drills. Most spectators do. It gets the blood pumping.
"A lot of #$%^* testosterone out here!" GA line coach Dennis McKnight yelled out in the middle of them yesterday.
Yeah, we love it. But 1-on-1 drills often have very little to do with game situations.
A great 1-on-1-drill guy may not be a great football player, and vice versa. They give you a glimpse of internal individual battles, but there's a whole lot more left unseen.
Kind of like training camp itself.
There are still starters out. Ross Dickerson was coaching receivers, yesterday, instead of running routes. Leonard Peters was on the side, holding court, dressed like Lawrence of Arabia in the heat.
Afterward, yesterday, sports information director Lois Manin's dog -- who had watched practice -- ran away from McKnight. (Eh, the guy is so imposing he coaches in a knee brace.) But McKnight showed once again that we're not always seeing the full picture out on that field. Soon he was rolling on the ground, proving to be a big softy. The pup decided he was playful enough to be a new friend.
McKnight looked into the dog's eyes. "Are you part Dachshund?" he said.
As camp breaks there are still some answers we just don't know.