Friday, August 8, 2008

University of Albany Football Program Conducts First Preseason Practice in Full Pads

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Head coach Bob Ford and the University at Albany football program ushered in the first day of practice in full pads with the spirited “Oklahoma” drill on Friday, Aug. 8. The Great Danes, who won last year’s Northeast Conference championship, worked out for more than two hours on the campus’ Dutch Quad intramural field.

The Oklahoma drill was designed by legendary college football coach Bud Wilkinson, who guided the Sooners’ program from 1947-63. Wilkinson’s drill has become a tradition at football practices across the country.

UAlbany’s Ford employs a three-on-three system that places the players in a 10-yard box as a running back tries to sprint through open space to a goal line marked by cones. The full-contact session pits offensive linemen against defensive linemen or tight ends against linebackers in a physical football tackling drill that tests competitiveness and toughness.
“It’s exciting for the players,” said Ford, whose team opens its schedule against Massachusetts later this month. “You get to evaluate a lot of people in a relatively safe environment. You learn so much about a person. If you are an offensive lineman, are you able stay on your feet, come off the ball and move on a snap count. A defensive lineman has to move on movement, not on cadence. He teaches him to pursue and come off the block.”

The helmet bashing and pad popping drill provides an early glimpse of which players will have an impact on the 2008 schedule. UAlbany’s roster will have to be ready for plenty of physical football with likes of Delaware and New Hampshire on this year’s schedule. The first week of preseason training camp comes to close on Saturday before the players get a welcomed day off.

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