Day 4 of fall camp brought a smile to the face of coach Sonny Dykes, who praised his team for a much better effort Thursday than he got the day before.
The Bears were in shoulder pads for the second straight day – they go full pads Friday – and the intensity was amped up.
“I was pleased today, very much so. They competed a lot harder. It was really a good step I the right direction,” Dykes said. “ I thought the practice was really intense and physical. It was good to see those guys come out and compete.”
The Bears have 25 more practices before their Aug. 30 opener at Northwestern, and Dykes said the team generally has raised its level from a year ago, Well, certainly they needed to.
“At times last year we had to kind of drag them out here kicking and screaming a bit. They’ve been much more self-starters,” he said. “It’s early still and we’ve got to continue that intensity, but they’re ready to practice.
“I used to hear guys out here talking about other things than football. I don’t hear that anymore. They talk about football, they’re coaching each other, they’re having fun competing against each other.”
Part of the reason there is greater competition in practice is simply there are more healthy players in the mix. And it’s not just the veterans who are creating that atmosphere.
“I think with the influx of the junior college players and the freshmen coming in, a lot of these guys realize they better raise their level or they’re not going to be playing,” Dykes said. “There’s a tremendous amount of competition, pretty much across the board. That kind of brings out the best in everybody.”