Culture. Comraderie. Collaboration. Camp.
For any football team, camp is a bonding experience. Each year the Bearcats pack up the trailer and hit the road, heading up to the friendly confines of Camp Higher Ground in West Harrison, Indiana, just across the border. A different state, and this year’s Bearcat squad hopes to feature a different state of mind.
Last season the Bearcats played well. Not great. Not awful. Well. This year they could be great – 2009 great…or even better?
Yesterday the Bearcats Sports Radio squad stopped by to look and listen into the practice. I won’t regale you with every detail of the sweltering practice, nor will I write an article that helps other squads with their scouting reports. Instead, I’ll pass along to my most loyal readers a few takeaways…
Our older guys are taking ownership of this squad early on. That’s not good news, that’s great news. I watched Parker Ehinger, Chris Moore, Mekale McKay, Alex Chisum, and Gunner Kiel all provide direction, reprimand, and encouragement to the younger guys. While I didn’t personally observe it, Coach Tuberville told me that Silverberry Mouhon is doing that on the defensive side of the ball. It is critical for any team that wants to be successful to have older players lead. I think this team has that.
Gunner looks crisp. He looks healthy. He has midseason velocity on his throws. It is evident that he spent some time working on his game this summer. More than that, he is leading – he coaches the younger quarterbacks, he cuts up with his linemen, and it looks like he’s pointing out protection package tweaks. Guess what? That’s what all of the smart, elite quarterbacks do. He has even developed some NBA-esque handshakes with some of his linemen.
Beyond Gunner, Hayden Moore looks great, too. He looks like he could start for any other AAC team. Luke Wright, the apparent number 3 QB, also looks pretty good so far.
Then, there’s highly touted Ross Trail. Boy did he get lucky by committing to play for Cincinnati. He has no pressure to immediately perform, and will get a front row seat to observe one of the best college quarterbacks in the game. I was watching him throw the ball in drills, and was really impressed at his mechanics. You can tell he was well coached in high school. However, like any other freshman quarterback, he had some difficulty adjusting to the speed of the game during the scrimmage portions of practice. Coach Tuberville told me that it can sometimes take a young quarterback, even one with impeccable mechanics, a year or so before they understand the offensive packages and adjust to the speed. Bottom line is I’m bullish on young Ross Trail, and think he could develop into a fine quarterback one day.
The wide receiving corp on this Bearcats team might be the finest anywhere, in any conference. Yeah, I just said that. Chris Moore absolutely blew my mind on a go route yesterday, demonstrating that he has gears defenders will not have this year. Mekale McKay is big, pretty, quick, and liable to do some real damage to secondaries this season. Alex Chisum is reliable, mature, and a leader. Shaq is quick, shifty, and hungry. Johnny Holton, when he needs to, can outrun a fox through a forest fire. Max Morrison is steady and a trusty target. Am I leaving anyone out? Probably – the depth is unreal.
Oh, and then you’ve got great running backs in Mike Boone and Tion Green. Both of them looked great. On an interception, Tion Green flat leveled a member of the defensive squad – I think he wants to compete! Coach Tuberville was impressed, early on, with young Joshuwa Holloman’s speed.
Hope. It’s a tricky thing because it can absolutely leave you devastated sometimes. But it’s worth having, and worth fighting for. I have an abundance of it right now with this team.
And Tommy Tuberville has me believing in him, his system, and this squad. I try to not to read too much into every little statement, but, in remarking on the younger guys at camp, he said: “I look forward to watching these young guys grow.” Sounds like he’s settling into the Queen City.
Go Bearcats! Lessssss gooooooo!
By Brian Fox