Sept. 1, 2011
Senior wide receiver Taylor Embree is back with a new blog for the 82 Review to update the fans on fall camp and how the Bruins have been bonding as a team.
Fall is here and the college football season is set to kickoff in days. This being my senior season, I have never felt more confident and excited about our team and the direction we are headed this season. I have to give a special shout out to Coach Linn and his training staff for creating a strong foundation for our team during summer workouts and conditioning. Our team was physically well prepared heading into fall camp. Camp marks the beginning of a team's journey and becomes the groundwork for a successful season. Of my three years here I have never been a part of a camp that was full of so much competition, hard work, learning and energy. Through all of this we have made tremendous improvement on the field, while simultaneously establishing a powerful team bond unlike anything I have been a part of.
On the field, we have had intense battles for starting spots at nearly every position. Through this competition individuals were forced to step up their level of play, which ultimately increased the level of team play. Coaches have spent extra time in teaching us more than just plays, but in the game of football itself. I have enjoyed this and believe that in order to succeed in the game we love, it is critical to understand all aspects of it. Coach Johnson has done a great job of teaching the details of our offense. On occasion he will even quiz us on the lineman's assignments or the quarterbacks reads. By doing so we are able to learn the make-up of our entire offense rather than a certain part. By understanding the complete picture of things, players are able to execute their assignments to perfection.
Fall camp also allowed numerous individuals to make a name for themselves and show they are ready to contribute on Saturdays. Offensively Jordan James, Shaquelle Evans, Joseph Fauria and Devin Lucien all made a splash by consistently making big plays during practice and scrimmages. On defense Tevin McDonald, Eric Kendricks, Alex Mascarenas, Isaiah Bowens and Damien Holmes have all stepped up and made solid impressions on both the team and the coaches. It is always exciting to see the development of young talent, which is something our team has plenty of this year. It is also a relief to have key players back that missed season last year due to injury. Having the presence of leaders such as Kai Maiava, Datone Jones and Patrick Larimore have been crucial to the development of our team. Not only does it enhance the level of team play, but it also allows the younger talent to learn and see what it takes to be a great player.
The most important aspect of the development of our team's foundation is our camaraderie. We have a close-knit group of seniors who have invested a lot of time and effort into building a unique team bond. This has also been contributed to team activities in which coach Neuheisel has organized. For example, one day during fall camp we had a beach day, which included some of the most comical beach volleyball games I have witnessed. We had coaches out in the freezing cold ocean joking around with players from other position groups. Through activities such as this we have built relationships that go much deeper than just the practice field and meeting rooms. There is a brotherly love amongst all the players on the team, which is something I am proud to be a part of.
I hope you guys are as thrilled as I am for the beginning of the 2011-12 football season. One that has the makings to be a remarkable year for the team and Bruin fans around the country. Be sure to watch us as we face the Houston Cougars this Saturday September 3rd at 2:30 pm (12:30 PST).