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Date Posted: 20:30:43 08/12/03 Tue
Author: Starter
Subject: Practice #14
In reply to: Starter 's message, "Re: Practice #12 & 13" on 11:11:43 08/12/03 Tue

Return specialists in abundance for 2003

MACOMB, Ill. - Tuesday, August 12, 2003 (Practice #14)
“We had a very spirited workout today,” Western Illinois head coach Don Patterson remarked after his team completed its single morning workout Tuesday in temperatures that resembled late September.

Both the offense and defense had its share of time in the spotlight, including several 30-plus yard catches by wide receiver Terrence Hall and a pair of interceptions by linebacker Tim Martz.

“Terrence is having an outstanding camp,” said Patterson, “and Martz certainly shined today with his two picks.”

The Leathernecks will enjoy the luxury of at least two return specialists this season in second-team all-conference member Reggie Gray and newcomer James Norris, who returned eight punts and one kickoff for touchdowns in his two-year career at Los Angeles Valley College.

“A lot of teams struggle to find one return guy, but we’re lucky to have faith in both of ours. Reggie definitely hasn’t lost anything from his game last year. Fielding a punt is possibly the hardest skill in football, and he’s a great fielder. And James is quick, he’s elusive, and he’s sure-handed. At the end of the year, I’m confident we’ll have great production out of our return men.”

Coach Patterson took the afternoon to visit the St. Louis Rams’ final afternoon practice before they leave Macomb Wednesday.

“We value the relationship we have with the Rams, and I was happy to have the chance to get away for a little while and visit with them at practice. We take great pride in being the summer home of the Rams and we’ll do anything we can to support them.”

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Practice #15 & 16 -- Starter, 15:09:03 08/15/03 Fri

Goal line schemes installed for season opener

MACOMB, Ill. - Wednesday, August 13, 2003 (Practicse #15 and 16)

Before the St. Louis Rams ended training camp and left Macomb this morning, head coach Mike Martz took advantage of an invitation from Western Illinois coach Don Patterson to address the Leathernecks. Martz' address after the first of Western's two practices today focused on enjoying the high expectations placed on the team.

The Leathernecks used today's double session to install the offensive and defensive goal line schemes, specifically the goal line offense for the season opener against Wayne State.

"Offensively, today was more of an assignment workout," said Patterson, "in that we wanted to teach the players exactly how to carry out their assignments. It was less than full-contact and more of making sure everyone knows what their role is. Defensively, the guys were challenged in a spirited, hard-hitting drill against the offensive scout team."

The length of this year's camp along with consistently physical and competitive workouts have taken a slight toll on a number of players.

"Because of a wide assortment of bumps and bruises, and because we're doing well to be on schedule, we've eliminated a portion of the heavy contact, and we've been able to shorten some of the workouts by about 20 minutes," Patterson continued. "We don't have Western Illinois on our schedule. In other words, we're determined not to beat ourselves up. We play a very physical game, and there's a fine line between preparing your players for that type of contact while avoiding injury. We're in good shape, though. No one has been ruled out for the season opener."

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Practice #18 & 19 -- Starter, 14:10:46 08/16/03 Sat

Mock game provides experience in a variety of specialty situations

MACOMB, Ill. - Friday, August 15, 2003 (Practices #18 and 19)
Two-a-day practices in 90-plus degree temperatures and Midwest humidity – this is what Western Illinois Football is supposed to be like in mid-August. The Leathernecks contended with the elements for the first time this fall, much to the liking of the staff.

“Our players probably weren’t happy for the heat,” remarked head coach Don Patterson, “but I know the coaches’ were. History says that it will probably be pretty warm on August 28 (the season opener) and on September 13 (in Baton Rouge, La., vs. LSU), so we need to be used to it.”

The Leathernecks spent the morning session ironing out a variety of special situations that may come up at some point in the season. “Today’s practices were more mental than they were physical. We worked on a list of situations that may or may not be needed, but if we go over them in the classroom and we go over them on the practice field, then hopefully we’ll be prepared.”

The staff put together a “mock game” for the afternoon session. “We had the entire game scripted out,” Patterson continued, “and basically created a game with different scenarios. The offense might complete a 30-yard pass, but we’d call it back and tell them it was second-and-four because that was the next play in our script.”

Tomorrow’s workout, the last before classes begin on Monday, will be a very limited scrimmage. “Basically the players have to meet two criteria to play tomorrow. First, they must be in great shape physically. And second, there has to be a close competition at that particular position. There will be several proven players who wont’ see much work from a live standpoint tomorrow.”

Sunday is a scheduled off-day, and the regular-season afternoon practice schedule begins Monday with the start of classes.

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