Colts to Open Three-Day Mini-camp at Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center Friday
INDIANAPOLIS – Overall, Jim Caldwell said not much will change in the coming days.
The Colts will practice once away from their training facility.
And in some drills, there will be fewer plays.
But Caldwell, entering his first season as the Colts' head coach, said for the most part, the practices during the team's upcoming three-day mini-camp won't be significantly different than the organized team activities held at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center in recent weeks.
But Caldwell said that doesn't make the mini-camp unimant. Far, far from it.
"We really want to focus in on fundamentals and techniques," Caldwell said as the Colts prepared for a three-day, mandatory veteran mini-camp, which will be held Friday through Sunday. "What it all boils down to is – regardless of the scheme – guys have to be efficient at blocking, tackling, catching and throwing, just the basic fundamentals and rudiments of our game.
"That's what we'll try to focus on."
The Colts, who have held their 2009 OTA sessions since midway through last month, are scheduled to practice Friday and Sunday at their training facility in Indianapolis, with Saturday's practice scheduled to be held at Franklin College in Franklin, Ind.
The mini-camp practice will be held at 2:45 p.m. Saturday and is open to the public. Tickets are $10.
Caldwell said the approach to the mini-camp will not only be similar to the OTAs, the objectives and the schedule won't vary much from past seasons. Caldwell succeeded former Head Coach Tony Dungy in January, and said the mini-camps will look much as they did for seven consecutive playoff seasons under Dungy.
"We're not going to change anything – maybe a subtle change here and there, but nothing of significance," Caldwell said. "We'll try to keep it the same way we've done things simply because of the fact that we feel there was nothing wrong with the way we've done things.
"There are a lot of victories wrapped up in the way we've done things. We'll try to maintain that."
All 88 players on the roster are expected to attend mini-camp. The lone Colts player who didn't attend the first weeks of the OTA sessions was wide receiver Reggie Wayne, who worked out with the team this past Wednesday during OTAs.
Caldwell said the differences between mini-camp practices and OTA practices will be minimal. A tweak here. A shorter drill there. Little else.
"It's basically the same," Caldwell said, "just the order in which we do things will be a little bit different. We probably don't have as much 7-on-7 as we had in the past. We typically go about 20-to-25 plays during our OTAs. Actually, during mini-camp, we'll do a little less.
"We'll probably go about 10 minutes, which will probably get us about 12 plays or so. But that's the only difference, the volume of plays."
The offseason approach to fundamentals and teaching took on a different twist this past Wednesday when the Colts worked not only in front of coaches, but in front of referees. The idea, Caldwell said, is to reduce penalties and emphasize the importance of playing mistake-free.
"It's kind of my way of making sure I've got a few more eyes out there other than my own in terms of making a determination on what's happening with penalties and making them conscious of it," Caldwell said. "We obviously catch some of them on film and talk to them about it the next day, but often times, if you can identify the problem the right way you can eliminate one or two, so we're just trying to make them aware of their techniques and fundamentals.
Caldwell since the beginning of the team's offseason conditioning program has stressed that each step in the period is about teaching and honing fundamentals. Mini-camp, he said, is no different.
"We're trying to make certain that it's an information-gathering session for the players," he said. "We're installing our offensive and defensive schemes, so basically, that's what we're doing for the most part: install. We really want to focus in on fundamentals and techniques."
Caldwell, too, said a philosophy that was a constant focus under Dungy – playing offense and defense at a high-intensity, high-effort level – will continue to be the Colts' approach this season. That, Caldwell said, doesn't begin in training camp.
Rather, Caldwell said, it begins in the offseason and will continue this weekend.
"It's something you have to constantly work on and constantly talk about," Caldwell said. "The great thing is we have guys who have been around here and understand what it's all about. Still, the young guys have to learn. The veterans lead the way, but the young guys have to follow suit. We have to encourage them sometimes that running to the ball (on defense) is something that's very, very important to us. We have to emphasize that the tempo in which we run plays from an offensive standpoint we think gives us an advantage in terms of keeping the defense on their heels.
"It's important to us, so we have to talk about tempo. Those things are part of this whole process, learning what to do and also learning how we do things."