by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor JohnF
Bits & Bytes “Your Time is Now” Camp Ends
See the moon roll across the stars
See the seasons turn like a heart
Your father’s days are lost to you
This is your time here to do what you will do
Would you teach your children to tell the truth
Would you take the high road if you could choose
Do you believe you’re a victim of a great compromise
‘Cause I believe you could change your mind and change our lives
Your life is now your life is now your life is now
In this undiscovered moment
Lift your head up above the crowd
We could shake this world
If you would only show us how
Your life is now
- John Mellencamp/George M. Greene
Last day of Camp 2012 at University at Albany…a cloudy, gloomy day that threatens rain. I’ve convinced work to let me go one more time, so it’s a quick stop at Dunkin Doughnuts, hop in the Accord, turn on the tunes and zoom over to Camp Scooby Doo one more time. I flash my orange “All Sessions” pass at the attendant and make that walk one more time past the Tennis Courts.
It’s not the same, though. Back in 1996, the tennis courts were full, balls flying through the air. This year, they are eerily quiet. When I first walked on campus back in 1972, most of the trees were saplings. Now, they are full grown, though many of those I remembered are cut down, wiped out like the old “Autograph Alley,” where I saw Strahan’s with a smile that lit up a cloudy day, Rich Seubert limping down with a huge raw gash in his leg, and Ike Hillard staying to sign every autograph and shake everyone’s hand the last day of his last camp in Albany.
I take the long walk around the old UA stadium, and make my way to the “Hill,” where I’ve sat all these 16 years. A brief shower, but it’s not long enough or heavy enough to threaten practice, although things will start a bit later than normal.
Temperature is 76, Dew Point 64, Relative Humidity 66%, so it’s a bit muggy, and winds out of the SE at a gentle 6 mph.
Oh, Linval, I’ve heard your comment about the beds at UA dorms. Hey, no kidding; if you think the beds are hard now, you should have seen the same beds back in 1972! We figured they wouldn’t soften up till 2050…
Get my spot on the hill, between Fields 2 and 3. The main field will be with the camera towers, on Field 3. Lo and behold, what is on Field 2???
Yep, TWO CARS are on Field 2, on the 20 yard line. One’s a GMC Terrain SUV with Conn. plates, the other is an Accura with Arizona plates. The tires look really low, too, as if someone let the air out.
So, I look for Eli, and he has a “you know what” grin on his face! The players are laughing when they go by the cars (well, not all of them…I hear a couple of “Come on, Man!!”)
The Offense goes to field 2, the Defense to field 3. Both are running plays. The staff drives both vehicles off of field 2; I can hear the thump of their tires as they go by…
Punt returns on Field 3. DePalma, Cruz, Randle, Hosley and Jernigan (yes, I know Tom Rock didn’t see him, but I did!) take punts.
Offensive line in the end zone of Field 2, doing stance drills. Beatty is there with them, a good sign!
Field 2: The QB’s are working on shotgun and center/exchange snaps with Parker,Boothe, Baas and White.
Field 5: Hey, the Tour de Albany is back, as Beckum, J. Williams, Barden, Sintim, Canty, Coe, Boley and Nicks are there (Nicks had his jersey off, but I could see his red towel).
Field 2: The usual calisthenics (sprints, arm waves, backpedals, etc. with almost all the team.
Field 5: Weatherford is working on coffin corner kicks, assisted with long snaps from DeOssie.
Field 2: The QB’s are doing pitch and catch with Bear, Cruz and Bradshaw.
Field 3: Punt Returns with Hosley, Hixon, DePalma and Douglas.
Field 4: O Line with stance drills.
Field 4: CB’s have a drill where the sprint 10 yards then break down as if they are ready to tackle someone.
Field 5: The guys not practicing are loosening up. Nicks does some short sprints.
Field 4: The O Line stands around their coaches, taking in instruction.
Field 2: The Defense does “Corner” drills again…this is where you have 4 stations, and the linemen, safeties, CB’s and LB’s rotate to each one.
1) “Gunner” drills…1 guy tries to beat two blockers going down the field.
2) Two men from opposite sides rush each other from 20 yds out, one simulating the ball carrier, the other the tackler. They veer off at the last second.
3) One guy fights off a block to go after the second guy simulating a RB.
4) Form tackle drill
Field 3: The offense is running plays at faster speed.
Field 2: The Defense now splits up:
1) The safeties are working on backpedaling into zones.
2) The CB’s are working on covering out routes
3) The linemen are doing fumble recovery drills.
4) The LB’s are using the upside down garbage cans and guys who simulate RB’s (using foam arm shields to block) to work on defeating trap plays.
Field 3: The WR’s are working on ball safety drills, then working on getting off the line against press coverage. The RB’s are working on footwork, using the pylons while they carry the ball. Then the RB’s go with the QB’s, and work on short pass patterns. The TE’s are working on blocking.
Field 2: The safeties are catching “hot” passes from 10 yards out, to work on their hands. Then the DB’s and LB’s come together, and work on drop back coverages.
Field 3: The QB’s are throwing slants to the WR’s, the RB’s are running screen passes (thrown by the coaches), and the TE’s intensify their blocking against players with foam arm shields.
Field 4: Offensive Line – two linemen are working together to synchronize their footwork while they block.
Field 3: While the WR’s are working on patterns, I see Randle slip and fall. He gets up right away, but I hope the coaching staff ices him afterwards…the field, despite the shower, is hard. Rueben still has spring in his step, though, after he stretches the side he fell on.
Field 3: Three QB’s throw to three WR’s, one short, one medium, one long.
Field 2: Eli and Carr are throwing to WR’s covered by DB’s.
Field 3: Perrilloux is throwing to RB’s/TE’s covered by safeties.
Field 3: Weatherford, Tyens and DeOssie loosen up.
Field 2: Offense vs Defense, 11 on 11
Eli: Hixon on the left flat for a short gain, good aggressive coverage by Prince. Screen to Bradshaw, Prince and Kiwi cover. Hixon on the left flat, covered by Prince. Bradshaw off tackle right. Jernigan gets one in the middle.
Carr: Brown up the middle. Hynoski makes two catches in a row on the right sideline.
Eli: Ware off tackle right, then off tackle right again. Hixon with a nice left slant over Bruce Johnson.
Carr: Wilson with a sweep right, then Carr with a reverse handoff to Brown off tackle left, but Brown fumbles (he recovers the bounce, though).
Perrilloux: Purvis with a catch on the left flat. Wilson off tackle left for no gain. Tuck was right in on him for a sack but eases off. Talley with a left curl. Hendricks stops Scott going up the middle. Ryan with a ROCKET (way too hard) pass to Purvis, who’s blowing the smoke off his singed hands…
The Defense (Field 2) and Offense (Field 3) are both running plays, at a quick pace.
Field 3: Offense vs Defense, 11 on 11
Eli: Bennett drops a pass on the right sideline while covered by Rivers.
Carr: Middle screen to Ware. Stanback catches one on the left sideline vs Tryon. Scott off tackle right.
Perrilloux: Jernigan with a catch deep up the left sideline against Coe. Then after a handoff fake Ryan runs right, but no whistle…hey…are they working on Wildcat? I think they are! (He should have Tebowed!) Ends with another rocket to Purvis, who has singe marks on his hands (no catch) while being covered by Sash.
Scott again up the middle, then another fake handoff and run by Ryan (yep, no whistle, so it’s Wildcat!). Now Ryan does a great impersonation of Tebow by overthrowing Purvis (covered by Herzlich). Scott off tackle right, but Jones and Kiwi are there.
Field 3: Back to punt returns, with Jernigan, Hixon, DePalma, Hosley and Douglas.
Oh…almost forgot the Pat Hanlon Fashion report! If this is my last report, I can’t let that go! Pat is wearing khaki pants, black Nike sneakers, his trademark gray Giants windbreaker, and sunglasses! Way to go, Pat!
Tynes makes an appearance, making four field goals with the full FG team and FG defense on Field 3; he also hits the film tower twice!
Now, Eli comes on with the Offense for a short flat to Bradshaw in the same spot Tynes was kicking, then the FG team rushes on to get a kick off in 15 seconds. They do and it’s GOOD!!
Field 3: Seven On Seven, Offense vs Defense.
Eli: Cruz with a catch on the right sideline. Then Cruz again with a patented left curl. Bennett gets one in the middle flat, but Kenny gets the next one (interception), then starts his dance!
Carr: Jernigan with a nice catch on the left sideline over Prince. Bear with a catch on the right flat. DePalma’s on the right sideline, but a dive only results in a trap, not a catch. Pass to Bear up the middle, then Brown gets a middle dink. Scott with a catch on the right flat.
Field 5: The guards are throwing a couple of medicine balls around (one at a time). The tackles were working on blocking against swim and other arm techniques.
Field 4: Meanwhile, the D Line is working on swim and other arm techniques!
Perrilloux: Martinek with a catch on the left flat, then Bing with a beautiful knock down of a pass to the left flat to Stanback..that was a QUICK close!
Eli: Hixon’s dragged down trying to get a long left sideline pass by Bing, who would have drawn a flag (then again, with the replacement refs, who knows?).
Perrilloux: Scott runs up the middle.
Field 3, Offense vs Defense, 11 on 11
Eli: Ware off tackle right, then Cruz snags one on the left flat vs Prince. Ware again off tackle right.
Carr: Ware off tackle left. Jernigan with a middle curl. Stanback can’t catch up with a badly thrown pass on the right flat.
Perrilloux: Scott off tackle right. DePalma on the right sideline. Ryan overthrows Collins on a right slant. Scott off tackle…and
The players crowd in, line up, and it figures…I miss most of the rest of the plays!
Eli: Bennett with a long left slant.
Perrilloux: Martinek on the left flat, then Scott off tackle left. Tryon and Hosley team up to knock the ball away from Collins…
And that’s it. Rubber bands come out, practice is over!
What you didn’t see after practice
The players gather into a big circle, then it breaks up with a “Team” chant. Smaller circles form, as has happened every practice…after a bit, those break up as well.
The TE’s throw pitch and catch to each other.
Mr. Mara, Jerry Reese, and the rest of the coaches huddle, then they also break up as well.
Tryon is working in the far corner of Field 3 end zone, working on his backpedal with one of the coaches.
Molden is working with Talley on press coverage over on Field 4.
I sit back on my camp chair, close my scratch pad, and let out a sigh…
Practice is over. The players will leave for New Jersey, to get ready for this weekend’s game against the Jets. As always, thanks to John Mara for keeping his promise to come back. Thanks also to all the Mara’s, the Tisch’s, the Giants Front Office and staff, the Players and Coaches, and the University at Albany.
Almost everyone has left, the fields are empty, yet I sit here, staring at my scratch pad, unwilling to leave. For some reason old Sam Watkins words to conclude Company Aytch roll through my thoughts:
The tale is told. The world moves on, the sun shines as brightly as before, the flowers bloom as beautifully, the birds sing their carols as sweetly, the trees nod and bow their leafy tops as if slumbering in the breeze, the gentle winds fan our brow and kissour cheek as they pass by, the pale moon sheds her silvery sheen, the blue dome of the sky sparkles with the trembling stars that twinkle and shine and make night beautiful, and the scene melts and gradually disappears forever.
I’ve mentioned before, it always takes longer to get back to my car after the last practice. I hear the rumbles that the Giants won’t be here next year, things I’ve heard every year. Then I think of my father, gone for five years. He was a medic in the Pacific, in WWII…got caught behind enemy lines. The Japanese were bayoneting bodies, to make sure they were dead. He played dead until the Marines came just in time with a counter attack that saved him.
My father used to say this:
“Remember the best of yesterday, make tomorrow from your dreams, and enjoy every moment of today!”
I think of him, and what he said.
It’s been a great 16 years of camp. Like the raw rookies who will make the cut for now, or the veterans who are hanging on by a thread, every day is an adventure.
I stride back to the car, with a smile on my face.
In this undiscovered moment
Lift your head up above the crowd
Your life is now
Your life is now
Your life is…