The Los Angeles Rams officially got Training Camp started Sunday and on Day 2, the coaches and players were all smiles. Head Coach Jeff Fisher is an L.A. Area native so he grew up as a Los Angeles Rams fan. He went to USC and was on the 1978 National Champion team. Selected by the Chicago Bears in the 1981, he was a defensive back and punt returner until a broken leg ended his playing career.
Southern California is his home and when he’s on the practice field he seems to have that Southern California cool — an L.A. vibe.
While in St. Louis, the Rams had four seasons with losing records under Fisher, but with the excitement of the move to Los Angeles, and the acquisition of the number one pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, (Jared Goff) Fisher and the Rams are feeling very optimistic about the 2016 season.
Plus, the team is being filmed for HBO’s sports series, “Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the Los Angeles Rams.”
Along with the HBO crew covering every aspect of the team’s time at Training Camp, the Rams have invited the public to watch the practices, including a Fanfest at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum this Saturday, August 6.
The players enjoy having their new L.A. fans in camp. Veteran linebacker and new captain of the defense, Alec Ogletree, told reporters, “It definitely makes practice a lot easier when the fans are here, cheering us on.” Ogletree added, “It’s exciting for them, for us to come back, be able to come to practice and see how we get down.”
Having the fans so close to the action of training camp has Coach Fisher feeling good about this year’s training cycle. He told the media, “…Unfortunately, we don’t have time to get every autograph signed because players have responsibilities inside and then meal and meetings. But they’re doing the best they can.”
Wide receiver Tavon Austin went down in practice, due to dehydration. The temperatures have been in the 90s, so hydration is one of the most important tasks the players need to take of.
Fisher commented on Austin, “He’s fine, he got a little dehydrated. He was cramping a little bit, so he’ll be fine. He’s not going to miss any practice, won’t miss any time. Great lesson to be learned there, I heard that, for some reason he didn’t eat lunch. Go figure. So anyway, a good message for the rest of the team. He’s doing fine, he’s having a great camp, he’s in great shape. No worries there.”
When asked about Alec Ogletree making the transition to middle linebacker, Fisher said, “It’s been seamless. He really has a great understanding of the defense – making all the calls; he’s taking that leadership role over. He’s off to a great start.”
On his number one rookie, quarterback Jared Goff, Fisher said, “I thought Jared had a good day, made some really good throws. We’re eagerly awaiting that opportunity to put the shoulder pads on so the offense can show what they’ve got, because it’s obviously a practice scenario situation where the defense typically gets the advantage before the pads go on. So the offense is looking forward to it.”
As for the rest of the rookies, like wide receiver Pharoh Cooper and tight end Tyler Higbee, Fisher said, “We just plug them in and go. If you watch practice, they’re lining up with the [first team]. That should tell you something — they’re lining up and going. They have a good feel. We’re not going to put them in to fail, but they know what to do, they’re going to get their reps.”
Rookie tight end Temarrick Hemingway told reporter Claudia Gestro he was getting into the change from college (South Carolina State) to the pros, “It’s a smooth transition. It was rough at the beginning, but once I started picking up on the plays and the terminology here, everything’s starting to come as it should be, in due time.”
She asked him if his training had changed significantly. Hemingway replied, “It’s pretty much the same as usual. I just go about what the training staff tells me to do and I just put my trust in them and believe in them that they know what’s best for me.”
On making the team, the rookie said, “At the end of the day I’m just going to come out here and do what I have to do to make sure I earn that spot.”
Rams fans can catch the open practices throughout training camp. Click Here to see the full schedule, which includes Saturday’s Fanfest at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum.
Photos by Claudia Gestro who contributed to this article.
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