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Old 08-09-2005, 07:56 AM  
C-Mac C-Mac is offline
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GRETZ: Things You Learn At Camp

GRETZ: Things You Learn At Camp
Aug 09, 2005, 5:53:46 AM by Bob Gretz - FAQ



RIVER FALLS, WI The Chiefs practice twice a day in training camp and after only a few days, these workouts all tend to blend together and look the same. Its very easy to stand there on the practice fields and start daydreaming, especially when the weather has been as wonderful as what Wisconsin has provided over most of the last two weeks.



But if one pays attention at practice, he can learn many things. Who is going up and who is going down on the depth chart is an obvious one. So is noticing who is working on the No. 1 special teams units; this is another way of opening up a window into the battle for roster positions.

Then there are a host of other little things that can be learned about the individual players. Here are three and they have a common theme: hands.

DUSTIN COLQUITT

The rookie punter booms the ball with his left foot. But, when he throws the ball, he does it right-handed. So hes not a southpaw, only a southfoot.

It is kind of odd, isnt it? God had something weird in mind, I guess, Colquitt said. Ive always been right-handed. I guess like everybody, it wasnt something I really thought about. I just grew up using my right hand.

When I was a kid, and my Dad was off in training camp, my Mom would take me outside and show me what my Dad was doing. I have a picture I was about one and a half years old, kicking with my Nikes on and with my left foot.

I dont remember that it was encouraged or anything, I just kicked with my left foot.

In fact, being left footed may have started before he was even born.

My Mom told me that when I was born, I had a big bruise on my left heel, Colquitt said. I dont know if that had anything to do with hit, but its funny that I turned out to be left footed.

So whats the big deal about being a right-handed, left-footed punter? Without getting into a long dissertation about body mechanics and the like, its something that Colquitt has always had to consider when hes practicing and working out.

Because Im so dominant when I kick with my left, when I punt, my leg is coming up, but Im naturally inclined to turn with my right side. I come up and twist to the right. I have to do a lot of work with my cross patterns (core muscles in torso and stomach areas.)

LARRY JOHNSON

Among the Chiefs wide receivers, tight ends and running backs, all but one player wears gloves when they are on the field. That exception is Johnson.

This hasnt always been the case. In his rookie season, Johnson wore gloves. That hes not wearing them now has nothing to do with the nice River Falls weather; he plans on not wearing gloves in December, and he hopes January as well.

It has everything to do with L.J.s confidence level, i.e., if hes feeling good about himself and his situation, there are no gloves. If hes not so sure about whats ahead for him or where he fits in, look for the gloves.

My first two years at Penn State, I wore gloves, said Johnson. Then my last two years I didnt. Same here with the Chiefs. If Im nervous about my hands, then Im wearing gloves. But when Im confident in my hands and Im feeling really good and I like to feel the ball against my hands.

Johnsons played in plenty of cold weather games at Penn State and even last year with the Chiefs. Weather wont be a factor in whether Johnson wears gloves or not.

Im used to the cold weather, said Johnson. Its just that your feel real comfortable with your hands, and you dont worry about anything else.

Theres also another reason Johnson is not wearing gloves.

It makes you a man to have calluses and scratches all over your hands, said Johnson. The girls like that when your hands are chewed up.

ALPHONSO HODGE

One of the Chiefs fifth-round draft choices, Hodge now hears it from his coaches or teammates at least once a practice. The subject: his lack of recent interceptions, and by recent, we are talking this century.

Through training camp on Sunday, Hodge had yet to grab his first interception. Over a four-year college career at Miami of Ohio, Hodge did not have a single interception. That was in 46 games, with 35 starts. In fact, hes not swiped the ball during a game in this century; his last interception came during his senior year at St. Edward High School in suburban Cleveland. That was in the 1999 season, one where he was an all-state selection and the clubs MVP.

In my mind, they just didnt throw at me in college, said Hodge. I had a few opportunities I should have picked off.

The other day, Dexter McCleon dropped an interception during practice and defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham asked him if hed been spending too much time with Hodge.

Yeah, they are saying something all the time to me, Hodge said with a smile. So Im always thinking, I got to get a pick, Ive got to get a pick. Its kind of gotten into my head a little bit. Im trying too hard right now to get one. Thats when you dont get the ball. You dont go to the picks. You let the picks come to you. I know once I get my first pick, they will shut up.

I just got to relax and let them come to me.

Here in River Falls, hes gotten his hands on some balls, but he hasnt been able to hold on. Just the other day, he spent a few extra minutes after practice working with Chiefs VP of player personnel Lynn Stiles on the jugs machine, going through drills to help him turn and find the ball quickly.

I dont think I have bad hands, said Hodge. I think I have good hands.

His teammates are still waiting to be convinced.
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Old 08-09-2005, 07:59 AM   #2
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Hodge could get some advice from Bartee...oh, wait....
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Old 08-09-2005, 08:02 AM   #3
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I mentioned this once about no INT's in college......... I got grilled, maybe there is something to it after all.
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Old 08-09-2005, 08:04 AM   #4
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Im trying to figure out how Colquitt is related to that story on 'hands'...Gretz talked about him being left footed.
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Old 08-09-2005, 09:04 AM   #5
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It makes you a man to have calluses and scratches all over your hands, said Johnson. The girls like that when your hands are chewed up.


"cause the chicks dig it" Good stuff.
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Old 08-09-2005, 09:28 AM   #6
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The other day, Dexter McCleon dropped an interception during practice and defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham asked him if hed been spending too much time with Hodge.

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