Bulldawg Illustrated editor Vance Leavy asked Isaac Nauta about one of Coach Smart’s frequently mentioned goals for the team, sustaining focus.
Here is what ” target=”_blank”>Smart had to say during his opening presser of spring practice:
“I’ve talked to the players extensively about sustainable focus because that seems to be, with a young team especially with the group we had last year, a lot of freshmen and sophomores playing, their ability to focus for long periods of time – a one-hour meeting, two-hour practice, that’s been a point of emphasis for us. Usually the first day that’s not a problem. But as spring goes along, a lot of guys can get complacent. You worry about guys saying ‘Okay, well I had my job last year so I’ll have my job again this year.’ That’s not the way it’s going to be for us. We’re going to challenge them to compete every day. The players that block, tackle, do the things fundamentally well, will be the guys who will be able to play.”
When reminded of Smart’s comments, Nauta opined:
“Winning that bowl game, that was big for us – to come out on top, to finish the season with a good taste in our mouth. That was kinda the thing that we wanted to roll over into this spring and next season. Just how we want to work and how we want to play, and just keep that focus on how it needs to be done. We know what we did wrong, we know what we did right -minimize some of those mistakes we made, that’s really what I think he means by just staying focused on what the main goal is at the end of the year.”
“I think there has definitely been a huge change in as far as guys being at spots, guys being late, everybody has just had a better mentality of ‘this is the way it needs to be done in order to be successful.’ So, I’ve been very pleased with just some of my buddies on the team, teammates, friends – everybody’s been more willing to do what they’ve got to do to help this team.”