By Daniel Wallace
The 2010 season that saw the Bears in a bowl game for the first time since 1994 is officially a thing of the past, as the 2011 preparations have officially begun.
Although no regular season games will be played until the fall, the team has been practicing for four weeks and will have a spring scrimmage Saturday.
Junior quarterback Robert Griffin III, who threw for 3,501 yards and had 30 total touchdowns last year, used the spring practices to fine-tune some of his mechanics.
“I’m doing a better job of getting fourth and fifth options on plays, getting through my read progressions, staying tall in the pocket and keeping the ball up when I move. Even if you are good, you can always get better,” he said.
Griffin said he has enjoyed the spring practices and is thankful for them.
He also said he realizes the importance of the spring practices, as he was unable to play in them last year because he was still recovering from his torn ACL, which he suffered from in the fall of 2009.
“I didn’t get to go through everything last spring,” he said. “It’s been great to really get together with the team and be light years ahead of where we were last year.”
The defensive side of the ball has seen changes this spring, specifically with the new man in charge, new defensive coordinator Phil Bennett from Pittsburgh.
Sophomore safety Ahmad Dixon said he has enjoyed the new coach and what he is bringing to the program.
“Coach Bennett is bringing in a total new defense. He brings in a lot of competition and is straightforward,” Dixon said. “He will tell you exactly what you need to do. He will get onto you on the field, and then off the field will be your friend.”
The intensity of Bennett has been a welcomed change for head coach Art Briles, as he said the defense is getting better with each snap.
Briles said he is excited about getting his team on the field and seeing them in action in a real-game atmosphere.
“We are excited about letting their juices flow and seeing them compete at a higher level,“ Briles said.
He spoke of how well the offensive line has done in protecting their star quarterback and of how the success of the team really starts with them.
Briles also mentioned that his quarterback has already gotten better, just because he is on the field practicing, as opposed to this time last season.
Fans are being given the opportunity to see how far their beloved Bears have come in the spring scrimmage 1 p.m. Saturday at the Highers Complex Fields. The game will mark the conclusion of the team’s spring drills.
“The spring game is just for fun. It is more of a show for the fans,” Griffin III said.
Briles is looking forward to seeing all the preparation come together on Saturday and to see his team perform at a higher level.