Indianapolis Colts Football

“Back-up of the Game” is wide receiver Griff Whalen

Posted by Kevin Bowen on December 16, 2013 – 2:21 pm

This week’s “Back-Up of the Game” presented by Venyu is wide receiver Griff Whalen.

Jim Irsay’s tweet announcing a roster move might have caught some by surprise on Saturday morning.

Roster moves usually don’t come at that hour and even the player being elevated to the active roster was a bit surprised.

“I really didn’t know anything. Nobody said anything to me, so it was kind of weird,” Whalen said of elevation.

“That’s something we talk about a lot, having everybody prepared as a starter. You never know who is going to go down or what kind of moves are going to be made, so I was trying to prepare like that all week.”

Whalen had four catches for 45 yards and his 18-yard touchdown on the initial drive was the Colts first opening half touchdown in nearly two months.

Not only did Whalen play 35 offensive snaps on Sunday but he also served as the team’s punt returner with a 51-yard return (season long for the Colts) in the third quarter.

When LaVon Brazill was a late scratch, Whalen was called on to serve in “Next Man Up’ duty.

“When you look at the roster, we know the roster is fluid and things like that happen and you have a choice to make when that happens to you,” Chuck Pagano said of Whalen’s performance.

“Certainly Griff’s not one of those guys that would go in the tank, so to speak. He’s a grinder. He plays with a chip on his shoulder. He’s got something to prove, obviously, and he’s not one of those guys that got away from doing the things that you need to do in order to have another opportunity, which he had, and then take advantage of it.

 

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“Newcomer of the Week” Texans Edition is Trent Richardson

Posted by Kevin Bowen on – 12:21 pm

Throughout the course of the season, Colts.com will run a “Newcomer of the Week” following each regular season game. With the Colts having an influx of the newcomers this season here’s a look at the “Newcomer of the Week” from Houston.

This week’s “Newcomer of the Week” is running back Trent Richardson.

Just prior to the Cincinnati game, Trent Richardson announced that he was feeling the best he had felt since arriving to Indianapolis in the middle of September.

Richardson’s stats over the past two weeks would certainly back up his statement. tempDD4_3090--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

On Sunday, Richardson had 23 touches for 102 yards, giving him 34 touches for 190 yards over the last two weeks.

Richardson’s effort on Sunday was vital considering he played 46 offensive snaps (out of a possible 70) once Donald Brown exited with a “stinger”.

“I come out and train and practice hard and make sure I do everything I can to be in that position for whenever they call on my number, I’m ready,” Richardson said after the 25-3 victory.

“Our offensive line did a tremendous job today. The wide receivers did a really good job today and tight ends. As a group, as an offensive unit, we did a really good job today.”

Richardson scored on a nine-yard shovel pass midway through the second quarter and caught a total of four passes for 38 yards.

His season long rush of 22 yards came in the second half as Richardson received all of the running back load once Brown went down (before Tashard Choice came in to run out the clock).

“Trent’s been practicing extremely well. Trending in the right direction, obviously. Feeling more comfortable with the offense, so you’re going to see him do nothing but take off from here,” Chuck Pagano said.

“We saw it two weeks ago, last week and now with the positive things that happened to him today, it’s great for Trent and great for our offense and great for his confidence.”

Other Newcomers of Note:

Outside linebacker Erik Walden had three tackles and a 10-yard sack of Case Keenum on Sunday.

Outside linebacker Bjoern Werner had his first career full sack in the NFL with a seven-yard takedown of Keenum in the fourth quarter.

Safety LaRon Landry was a part of a terrific safety duo on Sunday and led the Colts with nine tackles (eight solo).


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Five Things Learned, Houston-Colts

Posted by craigkelleycolts on – 10:07 am

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Intro:  Indianapolis gained momentum with a 25-3 win over Houston, the club’s second-largest victory margin of the year.  The Colts grabbed the lead from the outset and did not need any comeback in assuring an 18th winning season in Indianapolis.

INDIANAPOLIS – Three of the Colts’ previous eight wins needed fourth-quarter comebacks, and the club had not earned an advantage larger than one score since November 14 at Tennessee.

Indianapolis had been plagued by slow starts in the last six outings but ended all of that by scoring early and building a 17-point halftime margin in a 25-3 win over Houston.

The Colts gained a measure of momentum heading into a week 16 showdown with 11-3 Kansas City, a possible playoff foe.

The Colts were the only AFC division leader to win last weekend, and here are FIVE THINGS LEARNED.

RESERVES TRAIN LIKE STARTERS – Chuck Pagano and his staff have said numerous times that reserves train like starters.  Trent Richardson yesterday credited the scout team (comprised also of practice squad players) for providing great ‘looks’ in practices that only help hone the starters.  Joe Reitz, Fili Moala, Griff Whalen and Darius Butler figured to get heavy work Sunday.  Tackle Xavier Nixon did not, but he went in early for Reitz at RG and played the duration of the game after never having played the position before.  With Reitz starting at RG, the Colts were using their sixth different opening configuration.  His early exit with a concussion almost makes this count as a seventh different opening bunch.  Cassius Vaughn and Darius Butler have split starting time for Greg Toler, and both had multiple interceptions in the Colts’ last two wins.  Credit coaches, credit players, but give credit when looking for one way how the team won Sunday.

EARLY ADVANTAGE, EASIER PLAY CALLS – Andrew Luck said the faster start yesterday made “a world of difference.”  Pagano said it opens things up on both sides of the ball and makes calls easier because the outcome is not hanging in the balance with so much time left on the clock.  The Colts won late against Oakland, Seattle and Houston, while making plays down the stretch to subdue Denver and Tennessee (twice).  San Francisco (27-7) and Jacksonville (37-3) were the only real wide-margin days for a battling Colts club.  It’s not that yesterday didn’t have stress, there was just less of it by finding a rhythm, getting an advantage larger than one score and finishing out an opponent.

RICHARDSON UNSELFISH – Trent Richardson lined up in different spots in the offense.  He did so at blocking back.  He works hard enough during the week when moved elsewhere that he wants to contribute as a receiver.  He has caught nine passes in the last two games, and yesterday he produced a season-best 102 scrimmage yards.  His adaptation to the offense has had fits and starts.  Yesterday was a good day for Richardson, and he needs to remain a building block.

POINTS A PREMIUM – Yesterday’s 25 points could have been more had a handful of chances been cashed in better.  A red zone turnover early led to Houston’s lone score.  Takeaways that started possessions at Houston’s 17 and 44 produced field goals.  Those happened in the first half when Indianapolis still built a 20-3 lead.  Later, a long punt return set the Colts up at Houston’s 28, but a field goal was the result.  Pagano cited these afterward as points left on the field.  It did not bite harshly on Sunday, but there are other Sundays looming.

DEFENSE WAS NEARLY AIRTIGHT – Houston’s only points came off a 32-yard drive that only produced two first downs.  The next 11 defensive possessions for the Colts ended with seven punts, two takeaways, a turnover on downs and a sack-strip-safety.  Those 11 possessions netted nine downs for the Texans, while the Colts pitched first-down shutouts on five straight possessions just after halftime.  Indianapolis held Houston to 16 yards on 10 plays in the third quarter.  It was an overall performance that included four sacks, a two-thirds failure on third downs (the best since week five), 12 first downs and 26:49 possession time (the season’s third-lowest mark).  Well done.


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Veteran Tashard Choice Eager to join Colts for Playoff Run

Posted by Kevin Bowen on December 11, 2013 – 3:07 pm

As the Colts head into Week 15 of the 2013 regular season, they carry with them yet another running back.

Various injuries have placed four different Colts running backs on the injured reserve this season.

Veteran Tashard Choice is the latest addition to the Indianapolis backfield and through seven seasons in the NFL, the Georgia Tech product is eager for another opportunity.

“The organization, I can’t tell you how much they’ve helped in just the day or so I’ve been here. It speaks volumes of how they’ve treated players and how accepting they’ve been,” Choice said on Wednesday.

It appears the first crack at playing time for Choice will come on special teams.

The 210-pound Choice has played for the Cowboys, Redskins and Bills with his longest stint coming from 2008-2011 in Dallas.

Choice has some connections with his new teammates including playing with Da’Rick Rogers earlier this year in Buffalo.

“He has a real strong passion of the game,” Rogers says of Choice. “When I was in Buffalo, he was a better guy off the field also. He was like a big brother to me as far as helping me keep my mind right and telling me the right things to become a professional in this league.”

That veteran presence is an area Chuck Pagano feels Choice can help a running back room that includes 23-year old Trent Richardson.

Spoken like a true vet, Choice falls right in line with Pagano’s thinking.

“I want to help out first, be on special teams, be a leader, a guy in the locker room that is positive, help out on the offensive side of the ball, whatever they ask me to do,” Choice said on Wednesday.

Choice arrives to Indianapolis with career totals of 361 rushing attempts for 1,535 yards and 80 receptions.

After surprisingly being cut by the Bills last Wednesday, Choice is grateful to not only have another chance, but to do it with a team that has plans in January.

“That’s what it’s all about, getting in the playoffs where everybody is even, trying to go for that big prize in the end.”

“It’s always good to have an opportunity to play in the playoffs nothing better.”


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Pagano talks the career-day for Andrew Luck and the development of Da’Rick Rogers on weekly radio show

Posted by Kevin Bowen on December 10, 2013 – 9:47 am

With the regular season back in action, the Chuck Pagano show returns hosted by ‘Voice of the Colts’ Bob Lamey on Monday nights.

Here’s some of the highlights from Pagano’s show following the team’s 42-28 loss against the Bengals

On Andrew Luck’s 326-yard and four-touchdown afternoon:

“He managed that ball game extremely well. He made a bunch of plays for us, not only with his arm but again with his legs. We’ve got to keep talking to him about when to slide (laughs), get out of bounds and those sort of things. He had an excellent outing and again, cold weather, indoors, outdoors, the guy is a football player. We know that.”

On the play of Trent Richardson (11 touches for 88 yards):

“It was good to see Trent have some positive things happen. Whether it was breaking a run outside, or some check downs, here and there, keep his balance on the one play. He runs hard, tough and physical so it was really good to see Trent have some positive things happen.”

On Da’Rick Rogers and LaVon Brazill earning more playing time:

“That’s a great question and an obvious answer. Yeah, they have. With only four receivers on the 53-man roster at this point and what they went out and did (Sunday), the production that they had, both guys made huge plays for us. We knew they had playmaking ability and they just needed opportunities. They took advantage of those opportunities and really helped us get back into that ball game. Moving forward, we look for more production and more playing time for both those guys.”

On the addition of veteran running back Tashard Choice:

“He is a veteran guy. He will bring veteran leadership to the locker room and to that running back room. He has carries in the National Football League. He’s got yards. He’s got touchdowns. He’s got receptions. We do hear from reliable sources that he’s a good guy, a really good guy, a good team guy, a really hard worker, all those things, adds character. As quick as we can get him in here, up to speed, play special teams. He does that stuff. Certainly he’ll lend a hand in that department. Coach Walker and those guys will get with him and get him up to speed.”

On the Houston Texans coming to Lucas Oil Stadium this weekend:

“They have a great roster. They’ve got a bunch of good football players as you know and everybody else knows. These guys are professional players. They understand what’s at stake. I fully expect and our team fully expects to get nothing but their best. We are going to have to be on point. We’ve got to worry about us. I’m counting on them coming in here and trying to win a football game. We will prepare accordingly.”


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Cory Redding anixous to see pupil Daniel Adongo finally “hit” somebody

Posted by Kevin Bowen on December 7, 2013 – 8:00 am

What started back in Anderson has continued at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.

The 11-year veteran Cory Redding helping Daniel Adongo learn the game of football in every facet.

“He’s like a baby to the game,” Redding said of the newest member to the Colts active roster.

“The day he got here he was like crawling, and now he’s up and walking, running as a toddler, Now he’s looking at all the defenses, looking at special teams. Studying guys’ body types and different pass rush moves to get on them, just learning everything he can about the game and it’s so exciting to see. He has his notebook in front of him, he has his iPad in front of him, he’s looking at stuff. The guy is being a technician to the game. And that’s what I love to see because it’s going to transition on the field.”

That transition will come on Sunday afternoon as Chuck Pagano expects the 6’5”, 270-pound Adongo to play special teams for the Colts.

Adongo thanks veterans like Redding and Robert Mathis for their guidance since he arrived to training camp in late 2013_1206_Prac_0075July.

Redding is beyond amazed at the progression Adongo has made on a field that was completing foreign to him just four months ago.

“He’s giving the offensive line fits. He’s strong. He’s fast,” Redding said in describing Adongo. “Very aggressive player and I cannot wait to see him line up wherever they put him. Whoever’s across from him is going to be in trouble. He’s a heck of a player, you’re all going to see it. And I can’t wait to see him play.”

When talking about his own development, Adongo uses the phrase ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ to describe the tutelage he’s received from Colts veterans.

That ‘child’ will look awfully big on Sunday when running down on kickoffs.

He’s got a lot of built up anger and frustration from practice. You can tell he wants to hit somebody but it’s practice and your teammates so you want to not do that,” Redding said of Adongo.

“But, he’s going against an opposing team, so he can hit them as much as he can, legally now, from whistle to whistle, snap to whistle.”


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Josh McNary’s NFL Debut Impresses Chuck Pagano

Posted by Kevin Bowen on December 4, 2013 – 9:00 am

As Josh McNary was packing things up in his locker Sunday afternoon, he made sure to throw a couple of game programs in his duffel bag before zipping up.

It was a memento that his family would undoubtedly appreciate to signify the NFL debut for the Army product.temp2013_1201_TEN_5507--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

McNary, who fulfilled his commitment to the Army the past three years, played a total of 21 snaps in Sunday’s 22-14 victory.

“It felt really good to finally get a taste of a sense of the game speed, sense of the intensity out there and the guys playing at this level,” McNary said on Sunday. “It was a real valuable experience for me to practice on in knowing what to expect.”

While McNary played 18 of his 21 snaps on special teams, the Colts utilized him in passing situations at inside linebacker.

After his NFL debut, McNary admitted that he’s still refining his skills to become a “true” inside linebacker.

Chuck Pagano liked what he saw from McNary on Sunday including a crucial quarterback hurry on a third down pass late in the third quarter.

“The three plays that he went in (defensively), none bigger then the third down we blitzed Josh and he beat the running back one-on-one right in the hole, hit Fitzpatrick right when he released the ball,” Pagano said recalling the incomplete pass.

“That was just a great, great football play by Josh. That just showed his speed, his athleticism, all those things. We look to get him more involved.”

Before last week, it appeared as if McNary’s first season in the NFL would be spent on the Colts practice squad.

However, that all changed just prior to Thanksgiving and now McNary is playing significant snaps for a team on the fringe of an AFC South title.

“Do you really need another incentive to play the game?” McNary said. “This only adds more and more motivation and just more reason to grind hard, day-in-and-day-out during the practice week and do more because you know you are playing on the big stage, playing for a lot.”


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Five Things Learned, Tennessee-Colts

Posted by craigkelleycolts on December 2, 2013 – 10:29 am

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Intro:  Indianapolis earned a 22-14 victory over Tennessee to move within one win or a Titans loss of the AFC South crown.  It takes 60 minutes and 45 players to win a game, and rarely does one like yesterday symbolize that more.  Here are Five Things Learned from Sunday’s win.

INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts’ 22-14 victory over Tennessee was a 60-minute effort that needed something from every player.

Indianapolis got it to vanquish Tennessee and move much closer to a second straight playoff berth.  It was a good bounce back after a difficult loss at Arizona, and the club kept alive its nearly two-season streak of not losing consecutive games.

The Colts are on the cusp of a divisional title that yields a home playoff game, and here are FIVE THINGS LEARNED.

FOCUS DURING ADVERSITY – The clamor around the Colts last week was loud as observers asked how the team would respond to a 2-2 stretch that included 29- and 30-point losses.  Some outsiders who might have thought the ship was sinking heard Colts players talk about doing what they do, but only doing a little better.  The process put in place by Chuck Pagano and Ryan Grigson in 2012 has been modified cosmetically as needed as things do through 28 games, but the bedrock foundation of trust, faith and philosophy stays rooted.  Players knew execution and fundamentals were needed to beat Tennessee.  The mid-week message was repeated afterward.  From statesman Cory Redding after the win:  “We settled down.  We trusted one another to get the job done.  We went back to basics, and it worked.  That’s what we kind of got away from, guys trying to do too much.  Just do your job and trust the man next to you to do theirs.”

BIDE YOUR TIME, SERVE YOUR TEAMMATES – Donald Brown waited 12 games this year to get a starting nod.  He had not opened a game since week four of 2012.  Brown came through as the leading rusher for the fourth time this season.  After four straight starts for Greg Toler, Cassius Vaughn did not start.  His focus then was to be the best CB on the field should his time come.  It came – two interceptions.  Jeff Linkenbach started at RG for the third time this season, and the Colts won for a third time.  Mike McGlynn contributed in other roles, and Pagano praised every player involved for professionalism.  It truly was a mature mindset by a team that listens to its coach.  His mantra of, ‘45 Men, 60 Minutes, Don’t Judge, All You Got,’ was on full display.

PRODUCE IN CRUNCH – The Colts mustered 25 rushing yards through three quarters, but had 79 when it counted the most, including a four-yard Brown TD burst.  The defense gave up a long TD drive to open the second half.  An unsightly three-and-out offensive possession that included a penalty and sack, plus a long punt return, put the defense at its 32 just two minutes later.  Robert Mathis had a sack-strip that led to a field goal to re-gain the lead.  Four plays after the kick, Vaughn intercepted Ryan Fitzpatrick.  Takeaways on consecutive drives kept Tennessee from scoring again.  The Colts scored 10 unanswered points, while the defense forced two punts and had one more interception with 33 seconds left to seal the game.  Indianapolis produced in the crunch.  Not always does a team win going away.  Many do so by making plays when it matters.

ADAM VINATIERI VINTAGE – Adam Vinatieri twice before had made five field goals in a game, but not since 2004.  Vinatieri tied a club record done seven other times by hitting from 47, 48, 45, 37 and 49 yards.  His first, third and fifth kicks put the Colts ahead.  It looked like Indianapolis would have to win a game without scoring a touchdown for the first time since 2003 – until late.  Vinatieri is 26-of-29 this year, including 15-of-18 from the 40-plus range.  He has made 22 of his last 23 efforts, 34-of-35 inside 50 yards.  In addition to joining Morten Andersen as the only kickers with 800-plus points with two different teams, Vinatieri joined eight others (done a total of nine times) who hit four times from the 40-yard range in a game.  Of all free agent signings in Colts history, his is one of the best.

STEADY IS MONEY – In going 4-2 at home and away, the Colts are 8-4.  After going 3-1 in the first two quarters of the season, Sunday’s win put the Colts at 2-2 in the season’s third quarter.  That steady production has the Colts within grasp of a 16th playoff berth since moving to Indianapolis.  Under Pagano and Grigson, the Colts started 2-2 in the first quarter of 2012 with nearly a completely rebuilt team.  Afterward, Indianapolis was 3-1, 3-1 and 3-1 to reach 11-5.  This year’s two 3-1 starts meant five consecutive quarters of seasons had that steady production. Fighting injuries and uneven play, the Colts ended the third quarter with a .500 mark.  An extended period of play since 2002 has seen the Colts have only five non-winning seasonal quarters – a span of almost 12 full seasons.  Colts fans – current and long-time – should appreciate that feat.


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Da’Rick Rogers expected to make his NFL debut on Sunday

Posted by Kevin Bowen on November 27, 2013 – 2:51 pm

Over the past few weeks, Colts fans attention on the status of Da’Rick Rogers rivals that of any player on the team.

Fans are clamoring to find out when the ultra talented Rogers will make his NFL debut.temp2013_1120_Prac_0960--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

Could it be this weekend for the rookie wide receiver?

“I would venture to say that’s a good probability,” Chuck Pagano said on Wednesday when asked if the four current receivers on the 53-man roster will be active this weekend.

The enthrallment in Rogers stems from him leading the SEC with 67 receptions for 1,040 yards during his 2011 season at Tennessee.

Off the field issues caused Rogers to go undrafted this past April but it appears he’s beginning to realize that the clock is ticking on his chances.

“I’ve been doing everything Coach Pagano has asked of me and a little more,” Rogers said on Wednesday. “Coming in early, staying late, putting in the extra work I need to get acclimated from the offense, letting these guys know I’m here learning and helping the team out.”

Pagano talked about that acclimation period that players go through when making the move from a practice squad (where they are mostly scout team players during practice) to the 53-man roster (where they are actually running the Colts playbook at practice).

Now, it’s extended reps with Andrew Luck and the Colts quarterback likes what he sees from the 6-3, 215-pound Rogers.

“He’s been doing a great job, focused, done a great job learning the playbook so I’m excited for him and excited about him,” Luck said.

And Pagano’s thoughts on Rogers?

“Now he’s at a point where he’s picked things up and we are going to put him out there and give it a shot,” Pagano said of Rogers.

“He’s a big, athletic, talented guy. He’s put in the time, been here early, stays late so I’m fully confident that the kid can go out there and make a play for us.””

Rogers knows the Colts are searching for some production from a receiver not named and T.Y. Hilton and the rookie is relishing the chance to make an impact.

“Coach Pagano has put that pressure on us. “That pressure makes dominance so just go out there and do what you go to do,” Rogers said.

“It’s football. It’s a child’s game and we just got to go out and execute.”


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Pagano talks the Titans game, Coby Fleener and an update on Chris Rainey/Da’Rick Rogers

Posted by Kevin Bowen on November 25, 2013 – 8:52 pm

With the regular season back in action, the Chuck Pagano show returns hosted by ‘Voice of the Colts’ Bob Lamey on Monday nights.

Here’s some of the highlights from Pagano’s show following the team’s 40-11 loss to the Cardinals:

On the stakes this weekend:

“Tennessee going out there and beating Oakland, winning that football game, being two games back, obviously they are still in the hunt. They know that. We know that. It’s not going to be easy Sunday, but we control our own destiny. We’ve got to go back to work. We’ve got to have a great week of practice. We’ve got to do more. We’ve got to do it better. It’s at our place. It’s at Lucas Oil Stadium. They’ve got to come in here. This is like déjà vu all over again, coming off that disappointing loss to St. Louis then having to go down there on a short week and get that win. Same situation. Same scenario. We’ve got to put the time in, prepare and play well.”

On Sergio Brown’s blocked field goal:

“It was a great play by him and he did some outstanding things in that football game. The blocked field goal was one of them. He covered punts. He drew a couple of flags. As a gunner, he’s just a dominating force out there. He’s been playing at a high level for us on special teams and we certainly need him to do that.”

On the play of tight end Coby Fleener:

“I think he’s risen up to the challenge. When Dwayne (Allen) went down, he was obviously asked to do more and he’s done that. No. 1, Alfredo Roberts (tight ends coach) has done a tremendous job with all the tight ends. He’s with Coby 24/7, around the clock. Coby’s stepped up his game. You are not only seeing the level of his play go up on Sunday’s, but it’s because what he’s doing Monday-Saturday. He’s practicing really well. He’s putting the time in that you need to put in, in the meeting room. He understands the concepts and the schemes that we’re running. He’s playing fast because he’s practicing fast. I think the level of play and production that he’s giving us is just a byproduct of the hard work that he’s put in.”

On why weren’t Chris Rainey and Da’Rick Rogers active on Sunday:

“Two young, talented players, as we all know. There’s been a lot of talk about these two young players and excited about having them up, having them on the roster. Having Chris here just one week and Da’Rick being up on the active roster two weeks, there’s an acclimation period. These guys are working hard. They’re doing everything they can. As soon as they are more familiar with the playbook and we can start to implement them into our plan offensively, we are going to try and get them out there as soon as we can.”

On the schedule for this week with Thanksgiving:

“We practice every Thanksgiving. All we do is we move up the schedules. We move up practice time and try to get the players and coaches out of here so they can spend some time with their families in the afternoon.”


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