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Mike McCoy Era Underway with First Mini Camp Practice
In some regards, it was like any other mini camp practice. The ball was being tossed around. Plays were being called out in the huddle. Wide receivers were running routes, linemen were practicing their technique and so on and so forth.
But today was different for one very big reason – it was the first time the Chargers took to the practice field under new head coach Mike McCoy. The players approached today with nervous excitement, eager to get a taste under their new leader.
“Being around new coaches on the practice field, I was wondering how’s it going to be in practice,” said Philip Rivers. “I kind of knew the schedule and ropes for so long. (McCoy’s) background is offense, but he’s a sharp football guy. He’s not just focused on the offensive side. He roamed all around and he’s definitely got some energy. I think you see it in the staff. He lets his coaches coach and he certainly adds his coaching points when he wants to and feels like he needs to. I thought the flow of practice and energy for the first go round, a new staff and a bunch of new players, I thought it was very organized and had a nice flow to it.”
McCoy was also pleased with how his first team practice went.
So what is McCoy trying to accomplish during the three days of practice this mini camp affords?
“Well number one we have to learn how to practice against each other,” he said. “That’s the most important thing. With the new CBA agreements and everything that have been going on the past couple years with the way you have to practice, we’re trying to teach these guys the tempo we want to go. Play as close to game speed as possible but take care of one another because the health of the football team is very important. We have to understand during the season we only have one padded practice a week, (so) the tempo we’ve got to go has to be as game-like as possible. And really, we want to lay the foundation of what we want to do schematically on offense, defense and special teams. (We need to) understand this is the way we’re going to do things. This is the way it’s going to be. There’s change. Buy into it and let’s go.”
According to both Rivers and safety Eric Weddle, the team is buying into McCoy’s philosophy, that it’s not about being a good team, it’s about being the best team.
“(McCoy) comes across very headstrong and very confident,” said Weddle. “He knows what he wants. We’re here to win a championship. We’re not here to be just .500. We’re not here to maybe win the AFC West here or there. We want to win a Super Bowl. And just his belief; it rubs off on us. Once the season ended and you see guys let go, you get down a little bit. You don’t know what the team is going to be like. But now, I feel like we’re the best team in the league. And a lot of that is because of Coach McCoy and the way he presents himself.”
The Chargers head coach reinforced this sentiment when he stated what the most important element in the team’s success will be this season. “We’ll let the media and everybody else, the outside people, make any predictions they want,” he said. “The most important thing is that we get this football team to believe in what we’re doing toward one common goal. And the rest of the organization (too). Not just the players and coaches but the whole building. If the whole entire organization believes in what we’re doing and we stick to our plan, good things are going to happen.”
The Chargers will be back on the field late Tuesday afternoon for a walk through before continuing their three day mini camp Wednesday and Thursday. McCoy aims to use the remaining sessions to build off what he thought was a strong first practice this morning.
“For the most part, the whole entire team did a great job today,” he said. “There are some things we’re going to clean up. That’s every practice and every game. Even when you play in the biggest game of your life, after that game’s over you always look at it and say ‘Hey, there’s some things you can correct.’ I think the coaches have done a great job in the short amount of time we’ve had with the players. The one thing we talked to the players after practice was let’s just build off this. This is just one step, one more day of practice we have under our belt together and we’ll keep building after this.”