MENNUL TUFFNESS. You hear this from corches all the time. It’s the most valuable of intangibles, blah blah blah. UCLA has hired what they are calling a "mental conditioning consultant" for the 2016 season. Now, you can mock away, but there might be more to this than new-age zensmanship. According to Mora:
We hired a guy named Trevor Moawad who’s come in. He’s worked with Alabama and Nick Saban for ten years. He’s worked with Florida State. He’s been on the staffs of five of the last seven national champions. He’s been with us all summer and now this first week and he’ll be with us during the season.
Hmmm. Maybe it’s time to bring one of the Junction Boys on staff to yell at these pampered n00bs. Or in a pinch, maybe just Tom Berenger dressed up like Bear Bryant.
SPEAKING OF TOUGH. Folks, the O-Line is maybe the scariest unknown this season. Last year they didn’t play up to their potential and they’re only returning one guy who started every game. But bringing back veteran OL coach Jim Turner has Sumlin optimistic:
"Everybody was learning at the same time so growth is not staggered," Sumlin said. "The growth is everybody on the same piece and in some ways that’s helpful."
Avery Gennesy, the most seasoned of the offensive linemen, shared in this outlook:
"It starts with us in the weight room and I think we did that and are continuing to get better," Gennesy said. "We are just more determined and coach Turner brings the best out of us each and every day so I feel like it’s going to come out. It’s just up to us as individuals, that we just have to get our job done."
If this all sounds like a bunch of August hot air, keep in mind that he goes up against Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall in practice every day. Our offensive line’s greatest strength might be in that they have to face the defensive line.
BODY ARMOR. Coach Larry Jackson is pleased with the muscle mass a lot of the defenders have put on this off-season. He’s throwing around the phrase "body armor" in this interview and that’s the coachiest of strength coachspeak and yet oddly endearing. Imagine: the defensive line is digging deep, trying to protect a small lead against Ole Miss late in the fourth quarter. They’re trying to find that magic push, and then there it is, the beacon that saves us always:
Happy Monday. Here is your moment of zen.