* It's hot out here:*Day two of Gary Kubiak's first mini-camp as head coach of the Houston Texans was a hot one, literally. Players and coaches suffered through temperatures in the mid-90's Thursday morning during their second of three practices this week.
"It's different for me because where I've been," Kubiak said. "It's been plenty cool. This ought to be a great conditioned team because of having to work in this heat so it's something you worry about, but at the same you have to be mentally tough enough to work through it."
Players took extra time to hydrate themselves Thursday and one even had to take a small break. Cornerback Dunta Robinson had a towel over his head and was getting some attention from the training staff after a busy morning.
"I was just tired," Robinson said. "We're doing a lot out here and that's part of it. We went 2-14 last year so coaches are going to push us to the max. I was returning kicks, doing some nickel work, but that's part of it. I'm going to come out here and go as hard as I can and give it everything I got. That's the reason I'm so tired because when I'm out here on this practice field, I'm going to give it everything I have on every play."
Despite the heat, the coaching staff did not scale down the practice and while Kubiak admitted they struggled during parts of practice, overall he was pleased Thursday.
"We just really pushed them today," Kubiak said. "We wanted to work with the play clock and try and get a bunch of reps. I liked the way they worked. We struggled in the middle of practice, but we're learning how to work out of some holes. I think the first couple weeks we practiced, I felt like this team had trouble. It either came out really, really good or not very good and it couldn't battle through the not very good times and they're learning how to do that. If things aren't good early, they get together, they talk and they battle through the rest of practice."
hello:As one might expect after a 2-14 season, there's a lot of new faces in Texans mini-camp this year. While the addition of Eric Moulds was heralded throughout the NFL, two other additions drew praise from Kubiak Thursday.
Wide receiver Kevin Walter could probably walk down Kirby Drive next to Reliant Stadium and go unnoticed. That may soon change as Walter as made some great strides during workouts over the past few weeks and made a great catch Thursday leaving many to wonder if he has caught Kubiak's eye. He has.
"He's a fine player and he's a great kid," Kubiak said. "We felt very fortunate when we got him. I see Kevin as a kid who's got a chance to be a starter in this league for a long time so it's a nice situation for us as a team."
The other player was center Mike Flanagan who joins the Texans after an outstanding career with the Green Bay Packers. Flanagan makes the entire offensive line better as his addition has allowed Steve McKinney to move back to guard, thus building a better overall unit. However, while Flanagan's skills will be needed this fall, Kubiak said Thursday that he adds something else that the Texans are in desperate need of.
"He's a leader," Kubiak said. "He's been in this league for a long, long time and I just told the team in talking to them that this is a young football team. In four years during their struggles, one of the things I noticed was they don't know who to look to. Most organizations have been around a long time. The minute there's a battle, every players knows who to look at. This team's trying to learn where to look when there's a struggle and I think Mike will be one of those guys on the offensive side of the ball."
Junior achievers: Junior Achievement held a private event Thursday at
to become involved with the organization.
Junior Achievement educates and inspires young people to value free enterprise, business and economics in order to improve the quality of their lives. Jerry V. Mutchler, President of Junior Achievement, discussed the various ways that corporations can partner with Junior Achievement by joining the board, funding, volunteering, sponsoring whole school partnerships or special events partnerships.
After a brief program, attendees were invited to watch day two of Texans' mini-camp, which is closed to the public.
Later in the year, the Texans will be partnering with Junior Achievement for the annual Pancakes and Pigskins Rookies Breakfast. The event will be held Sept.12 th at the Woodlands Resort and Conference Center.
* Injury update:*Mario Williams missed a second straight day of practice after having both his big toe-nails removed Monday. Kubiak put to rest any fears Thursday that Williams' condition is something that might linger into the regular season.
"He's going to be fine," Kubiak said. "But better now then in July and August so we wanted to get it done (the surgery) and I'm hoping that maybe he gets a little bit done tomorrow."