Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

`We Got the Pads On!' Rams - in Full Gear for First Time - Trade Pops

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

`We Got the Pads On!' Rams - in Full Gear for First Time - Trade Pops

Article excerpt

They say it's not really football until you're in full gear. And by Wednesday, Rams coach Rich Brooks had had his fill of shorts and helmets.

The appetizers ended Saturday. In their first workouts at Maryville University, the Rams went to the main course. They were decked out in full regalia: helmets, shoulder pads, and all those thigh and hip pads that hadn't been worn since December.

Now, where do all these things go?

"You've got to re-learn all of that," offensive tackle Clarence Jones said with a laugh.

Suffice it to say, everyone figured it out.

"We got the pads on!" yelled one player in Saturday morning's workout.

"It's feels great to knock around," reserve tight end Steve Brooks said. "That's the way football was meant to be played - padded up."

"You don't have to hold back now," defensive lineman Sean Gilbert said. "You can take the brakes off and just run. Now we're playing."

No one was happier about this than Coach Brooks.

"It really feels a lot more like football," he said, "getting out there and seeing the guys fly around a little bit.

"It's difficult to tell where you are until you get the pads on. You see if you're really going to have that much time to throw. Or whether there is going to be a hole for the backs once in a while to go through."

There was nothing resembling full-scale tackling. To guard against injuries, that probably won't happen until next Saturday's scrimmage at Kirkwood High. But there was plenty of pop in the pads during nine-on-seven and 11-on-11 drills. One of the most entertaining drills to watch - pass blocking-pass rushing - took on a new meaning in full gear.

"That's as live as it gets," Rich Brooks said.

Here, there was a little freelancing - like that extra forearm offensive tackle Jesse James, uh, applied to defensive end Bronzell Miller.

"That's just my mental temperament," said James, who's known to have a mean streak on the field. "It's all competition."

After four days of workouts at Parkway Central High, the switch to Maryville put the Rams in a more traditional training camp setting.

Peaceful. Bucolic. Collegiate.

"This is an excellent setup," Rich Brooks said. …

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