Passing game emphasized at practice

Spring football continues to roll along with an information-packed, but uneventful practice. The coaching staff hammers out details, while throwing a lot at the players. Although nothing major happened, a lot of new things were installed.

With two practices to go before the spring game, the team has a lot to install before it showcases a new offense and defense to the general public. On Tuesday the passing game was the main influence for both sides. The offense installed several four-receiver formations and a lot of motion. The defense worked a lot with its nickel package, both coverages and pass rushes.

"We threw so much at them it's unbelievable," John Mackovic said.

The quarterback battle continues to be close. Nic Costa seemed to work on staying in the pocket and had mixed results. Costa has been prone to roll out at the first sign of a rush, but appeared intent to stay home longer. He had one pass batted at the line, but also had the day's longest pass, a 25-yard completion to Biren Ealy.

Ryan O'Hara's day met with mixed results. He made several nice passes, but was involved in two fumbled handoff exchanges. One was not his fault as he had to avoid an offensive lineman who went the wrong way. O'Hara took snaps with the first team in the full team drills, while Costa played with the first offense in the 7-on-7 passing drills.

Andre Torrey had the play of the day for the defense. The newly converted linebacker showed his speed when he crushed running back Chris Harris in the backfield. Harris never had a chance as Torrey exploded off the end and hammered Harris right after he took the handoff.

Pat Howard continues to team with Joe Siofele as the starting middle linebackers, while Torrey, Marcus Smith and Copeland Bryan all work outside with the first team.

The defense keeps toying with different combinations of linemen, but today Vince Feula, Carlos Williams and Brad Brittain worked together. Paul Phillip has also seen time with the first unit.

*Clarence Farmer and Bobby Wade watched practice, both intermingled with the team.

*Gainus Scott continues to sit out, while Sean Jones was back in pads, but limited.

*Speculation continues about the status of TE signee Ray Gurley. There has been talk that Gurley has an additional year of eligibility and will play at a JC this season. Mackovic mentioned Gurley when he discussed the tight end situation next season.

*Mackovic praised young receivers Ealy and Mike Jefferson and also noted that Andrae Thurman and Lance Relford had stepped up as leaders of the receiving corps.

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