In front of 1,200 fans the second straight day on a practice field adjacent to Paul Brown Stadium, running back Giovani Bernard wiggled past linebacker Emmanuel Lamur during a one-on-one drill, eliciting a small cheer from those looking on. Those plays drawing roars from the crowd came often during the first two days of practices.
Like most second-year players, Bernard begins camp this summer a lot more sure of himself than he was as a rookie a year ago out of North Carolina.
“I definitely feel a little bit more comfortable,” Bernard said, “just knowing the basic stuff, where to go, what to do. I’m not thinking as much. It’s obviously a little bit easier. You’re comfortable with the players as well.”
There’s a big difference, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said, between a rookie and a second-year player.
“That first year all they do is try everything they can to prepare themselves to be drafted,” Lewis said, “and once they get drafted they take a little bit of a sigh of relief and they get with their team and about November they realize, boy, this is a long year. In the offseason, they have an opportunity to really train their mind and body for the grind that’s going to come when the season comes back around.”
Bernard’s second season figures to be even busier than his first, when he rushed 170 times for 695 yards and five touchdowns and caught 56 passes for 514 yards and three touchdowns.
Hue Jackson, the running backs coach a year ago, is now the offensive coordinator and has promised to emphasize the running game more.
“Coach Jackson’s biggest thing is to spread the ball around and get everybody touches,” Bernard said. “The more opportunities you have, the more things you can do with the ball. They’ve worked me into a lot of different spots on the field, so I’m excited for the season.”By | Bill Koch Source Article