Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

May 5, 2007
Speeding up the tempo

Like a lot of folks, I loathe the notion of “learning” a lot from watching football in jerseys and shorts. You can see things like quickness and footwork. Coaches can see how players are picking up the system.

But something I can see about these practices is the pace Lane Kiffin is working the players at. It’s pretty physical considering the players aren’t in pads.

I’ve seen a few bodies go down hard around the line of scrimmage. Defenders have obviously been told to try to force fumbles because they’re going after the ball even after the running back’s knee has hit the grass.

“We’re trying to teach them our tempo right now, this tempo we practice at,” Kiffin said. “A lot of them aren’t used to it, especially when you throw college kids in at that tempo. They don’t understand how to practice at that tempo at the highest safety. … Mostly in college when the pads weren’t on they were in walk through mode.”

Intensity was pretty high by the end of the evening session. Warren Sapp was fired up when a blown assignment left Jerry Porter open for a touchdown.

And the defense celebrated mightily when an incomplete pass from Andrew Walter to Doug Gabriel ended practice.

No one has been hurt yet with one practice to go. So maybe Kiffin has taught me you can learn something from football in shorts - you can at least practice fast and physically in shorts.
--Jason Jones

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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