Camp Confidential: Days One & Two
August 14, 2012By Doug Erlien of Osseo Orioles Football
Defensive Coordinator Mike Johnson schemes with his defense during first day practice.
OSSEO, Minn- Derrin Lamker stood before his Orioles minutes before they began their first practice of the 2012 season and with one word gave his definition of what he is demanding of his team.
"Our team motto this year is emotion," said Lamker. "You can't play football if you don't play emotional. I won't settle for anything less."
This year, the Orioles have questions at multiple positions. We'll go in-depth on position battles later in camp. For now, let's just say the team is young and players are soaking in the playbook while trying to make an impression.
Competition in camp:
With youth comes opportunity and there is plenty to go around. The focus during the first two days of camp has been making each rep count. One of the biggest keys for a young football team is to get everyone on the field reps and chances to flash. The individual work has been impressive for two days into camp in all three phases.
"There's a ton of competition out here guys," said Lamker. "I have no idea who is going to start any position anywhere."
Top five things Coach Lamker is looking for in camp:
4. Athletic ability
Defense won't rest:
The defense seems to be ahead of where it was a season ago. Defensive coordinator Mike Johnson attributes much of that to having players that have been in his system for a second consecutive season. The defensive line looks especially strong with the linebackers and defensive backs not far off the pace. Johnson is looking for all 11 defensive starters to have the ability to pursue the football. We will be featuring Coach Johnson later this week as we attempt to get inside the brain of the mad defensive scientist.
Diamonds in the rough for skill positions:
Bridge Tussler is one of the top running backs in the state and as Coach Lamker put it, "one of the best I've ever had". That is high praise from a coach that has had his share of D-1 talent come through his program. Tussler, who was named to the KARE 11 All-Metro team might be the one and only known, but there are other skill position players that will step up. Lamker likes his receiving corps and believes his quarterbacks can throw the ball which will allow the offense to continue to find a run and pass balance that has been a constant over the past few seasons.
Special Teams coming together:
Special teams have always been a part of the daily practice rundown. Assistant and Special Teams Coach Jason Moden is a stickler for details, just one of the reasons Lamker considers him the best special teams coach in the state. In two days, the team has run through kickoff and kickoff return, punt and punt return as well as drilled down to long snappers, holders and who will be responsible for making six points equate to seven on the scoreboard come gameday.
Countdown to Centennial:
With the Cougars a little more than two weeks away, the Orioles first live action will come in the form of a intra-squad scrimmage Saturday, August 25th. It will be a good litmus test as the team figures out its identity. We'll scout the Cougars beginning next week as we begin gameday preparation.