Baylor Football

Rhule focused on team toughness, not worried about feeling good

April 19, 2017

Everyone knew that Matt Rhule's plans to engrain a "physicality mentality" into Baylor's football program would require more physical practices than has been seen in Waco in quite some time.

Almost finished with his first spring, Rhule has seen those physical practices. But he has also endured the frustrations of spring-ending injuries to key players up and down the lineup including potential starters Terence Williams and Blake Lynch.

Several other Bears have missed time throughout the spring as well.

On Tuesday, four days until Baylor's Green and Gold game on Saturday to wrap up spring drills, Rhule didn't hesitate when asked if injuries kept Baylor from progressing during the last month.

"If you have 10 guys injured you still have another 85 out there practicing," Rhule said. "I mean, we’ve got guys who got injured from the season. We’ve got guys who got injured off the field walking to class. We’ve had everything."

In other words, getting better as a team is a team effort and not the collection of individuals. Does that mean the overall mentality of the team outweighs a few injuries that forced players to miss significant time? Time will tell, but Rhule seems to think that is the case and has the team is buying in.

"I think we’ve gotten a lot done," Rhule added. "I think the biggest thing is making sure these guys understand, hey, this is what normal is and this is how we’re going to practice and compete and that’s what they do. They’re really a competitive group of kids and they’ve done everything I’ve asked."  

Rhule has watched his fair share of spring games in recent weeks, noting the play of the first-string offense against the second-string defense and vice versa. Even with the injuries hurting the depth of an already thin roster, he wants no part of that.

"I don’t believe you can be a tough team and go ones on twos," Rhule said. "I know a lot of people do that and it makes everyone feel good 'cause you score a bunch of points on offense and get a shutout on defense, but this, to me, you get 15 work days.

"We’re going to go ones on ones, twos on twos, and we’ll mix guys through and rotate guys through because I want everyone to have a chance to show what they can do with the ones and against the ones."

On Saturday, Baylor will be down to one scholarship running back and an estimated six fully healthy offensive linemen. That will force Rhule to change the structuring of the scrimmage slightly, but to become the best means facing the best even when it is in April scrimmage.

"For us, and this is not towards anyone else it’s just for us, I wouldn’t feel great coming out of the game and saying hey, we didn’t go good on good the whole time. So we’ll go good on good as best we can."

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Rhule focused on team toughness, not worried about feeling good

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