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Practice Report 8/8: Austin Never Stops

August 08, 2016 08:49PM
Practice Report 8/8: Austin Never Stops

By Myles Simmons

[www.therams.com]

If you come out to watch a Rams training camp practice, there’s one distinct voice cutting through all the noise in support of the offense. He proudly sports No. 1 instead of his regular No. 11 during each session, but there’s no mistaking his identity.

Wide receiver Tavon Austin is as high energy and competitive as they come when he’s between the white lines. He has a rare ability to extend plays and make something happen with his shiftiness — even when it looks like he has no place to go. But even when he’s observing his teammates in one-on-one matchups with defensive backs, or watching the second and third offense in team drills, Austin is constantly shouting words of his encouragement. Or leaping up to celebrate a great catch. Or talking trash.

“That’s always been me,” Austin said Monday. “It keeps me on my toes and helps me motivate my teammates around me.”

Listed at 5-foot-8 — Austin claims he’s actually 5-foot-9 — the wide receiver is like a ball of energy. It’s almost as if he’s not physically capable of just standing still for very long.

“I’ve oftentimes joked about this. He’s got two speeds: One’s fast and the other’s sleep,” head coach Jeff Fisher said. “When he’s not sleeping, he’s going fast and that’s how his personality is.”

“He’s just going fast all the time,” Fisher continued. “That’s what’s great about him He’s a really smart player, a very exciting, explosive player. He loves to play and compete.”


Austin’s also growing more into a leader. Heading into his fourth NFL season, that’s an important step in the West Virginia product’s development.

“I think a lot of people feed off my energy, so for the most part I’ve got to keep that up. I can’t just be loud one day and then the next day not say anything,” Austin said. “I’ve got to keep doing it. I’m one of the older guys on the team now. I love doing it, to be honest.”

But it’s not like Austin hasn’t been an energizing force on the past. It’s likely part of why he’s earned his teammates’ respect.

“It’s one thing to see him on the practice field and it’s another thing to see him in a game,” Fisher said. “On the sideline, when the defense is on the field, he’s rooting for the defense. He’s excited to have any chance to participate in special teams.

“He’s one of those guys who’s really unselfish from the standpoint of, as long as we get the ball in the end zone, he doesn’t care who does it,” Fisher added. “And that’s the important thing.”

Fisher described Austin as the kind of player who wants the offense to score on each play — especially if he has the ball. That’s part of why Los Angeles has been making a concerted effort to put the pigskin in his hands more often. So far, Austin says he’s noticed the difference in the schemes from offensive coordinator Rob Boras and passing game coordinator Mike Groh.

“I’ve been catching a lot of passes,” Austin said. “For the most part, our [two] coordinators have been doing a good job of trying to get me the ball.

“I appreciate it — just what I’ve been through so far,” Austin continued. “It’s going to get better from here. And it’s not just about me. I’m worried about the wins. So anytime I get to touch a ball, hopefully I can make something good happen with it.”

But Austin has noticed improvement all over the offensive unit, echoing comments defensive end William Hayes made last week about the men up front.

“I think it starts from the O-line, though. The O-line is doing a great job,” Austin said. “For all the receivers, we’ve got a couple more things we’ve got to get tightened down. but for the most part, I think it’s coming along — slowly but surely. We still have minor mistakes, but they are definitely correctable. That’s what we keep looking forward to.”

If Austin has anything to say about it — and he surely will — the Rams will fix those mistakes with an unreserved energy.


EXTRA POINTS

— After a day off, the Rams were back in full pads for Monday’s session. Fisher said the club will do the same for Tuesday’s 3:30 practice.

“I thought they handled things pretty well,” Fisher said. “We didn’t do a lot of running, a little shorter today. Tomorrow we’re coming back out in pads again and we’re going to have a couple of run periods that will also get very competitive.”

— Cornerback E.J. Gaines was in pads for today’s practice, but mainly did rehab work on the side. Offensive linemen Darrell Williams and Isaiah Battle also did not practice on Monday.

“We’re in a good place — we don’t have many issues physically,” Fisher said. “We’ve got a couple guys that are working their way back now and that should be up and available for the game Saturday.”

— Defensive linemen Quinton Coples and Ethan Westbrooks have mainly been working at defensive end and defensive tackle, respectively, this preseason. But on Monday, the Rams flipped that to have Coples at DT and Westbrooks at DE.

“Today was the first time [Coples] moved inside,” Fisher said. “We talked about it this morning. We kind of are going to flip a little bit and give Ethan Westbrooks some defensive end work and we’ll give Quinton some stuff inside, just as a rusher.”

— Finally, Fisher said that running back Todd Gurley should get a few reps in Saturday’s game against the Cowboys. But probably don’t expect to see the 2014 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year too much in that contest.

“He’ll get a few reps,” Fisher said. “I’m not going to come in and say he’s going to get 12 carries this week and 16 next week. He’s going to get some reps. I don’t know how much we’re going to do this week with him, but we’ll sit down in the middle part of the week and talk about playing time.”
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  Practice Report 8/8: Austin Never Stops

RamBill856August 08, 2016 08:49PM