Aug 7, 2012 5:32 PM by Q2 Sports
BOZEMAN - Montana State head football coach Rob Ash knows the most important single element to any season is finishing strong. Rooted in the experience of nearly four decades in coaching, that knowledge provided a teachable moment Tuesday as it relates to every practice a football team faces in fall camp.
"I thought we showed signs of being out there for the third straight day, including the first day in pads," Ash said after Tuesday morning's practice in shoulder pads and helmets. "The effort was good, but guys' legs started getting tired. I told them afterward that we need to finish strong, even when we're tired."
Bobcat quarterback DeNarius McGhee felt the same. "We just have to finish all those plays we didn't finish," said MSU's third-year starting signal caller. "We're playing against a really good defense, so there are gives and takes."
Consistent with his program's long-term philosophy, Ash's teams use a quick practice pace to enhance conditioning both short-term and long-term. "I liked the tempo today," he said. "We're running a high volume of plays for the amount of time we have, and that quick tempo is good for us on both sides of the ball. Last year we got away from that a little bit, but this year we're emphasizing practicing at a good pace."
MSU's experienced defense, with at least one player with starting experience returning at every position, is able to set the pace of practice at a high level. Ash likes the way his offense, particularly the inexperienced line, is working to match that intensity. "They're learning their assignments, and the guys that were here in the spring, which is all of the starters in the offensive line, are starting to show positive signs of being way ahead of where we left off."
The Bobcats practice in helmets and shoulder pads again Wednesday morning at 9:15 on the MSU Practice Fields.