Dan Campbell is using his first practice as interim head coach to send a message to the Miami Dolphins players: It’s time to get tougher.
Campbell pulled the team together in practice, then split the squad into offense and defense for an Oklahoma Drill on Wednesday, per NFL Media’s Jeff Darlington.
The Oklahoma Drill is a gauntlet involving one blocker, one tackler and one ball-carrier going full-speed in a confined space. Although it has been used for generations, it has come under controversy in the modern concussion awareness era.
“This is a drill that really is [meant] to help you define a mindset of being very tough, physical, even athletic,” NFL Media analyst Solomon Wilcots explained when the Bengals ran it during their 2013 training camp.
Darlington poked a little fun at Campbell’s obvious effort to distance himself from the listless Joe Philbin era:
Dan Campbell just held sacrificial ritual at midfield in which practice-squad player was offered to Football Gods. Miami trying everything!
â Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington)
October 7, 2015
At its core, the drill is about sustaining blocks on offense and fighting through blocks on defense. After watching the Dolphins go through the motions for four games, Campbell understands the need to emphasize those fundamentals while setting a physical tone.
“To me, the best teams that I’ve been a part of are the ones that, during the week, they go after each other,” Campbell said at his introductory press conference on Monday. “Whether it’s practice squad versus the defense. They’re giving the look of practice squad versus offense, but it gets heated. And it’s intense, and it’s people that are fighting to win. they want to get noticed or they want to do their job. It’s not just going through the motions.”
The “new sheriff in town” is an old gridiron trope. It’s also a welcome philosophical change in Miami.