"They weren't getting lined up right," John Mackovic said of the offense's gaffes. "I'm trying to send a message."
The players ran again after a broken play led to a quarterback sack. Those weren't the only troubles for the offense. Nic Costa fumbled a snap and on a least four occasions defensive linemen came in unabated to disrupt plays.
All was not bad for the offense. When they had the right personnel and time to throw, the quarterbacks were sharp. The four Wildcat quarterbacks completed all six pass attempts during 11-on-11 drills. One positive for the defense was that just one of the six completions was for more than five yards. Ryan O'Hara and Lance Relford hooked up on a 15-yard completion.
The quarterbacks were sharp all morning. They were very good in the 7-on-7 skeleton drills prior to the 11-on-11 drills. O'Hara got things started and was a stellar 5-6 for about 29 yards. His lone incompletion was a crossing pattern that was on target until Michael Jolivette got his hand on the ball and ripped it way from the receiver.
Costa appeared passed well. The sophomore was 3-4, but two of his passes were less than five yards. He and Ricky Williams did connect on a nice comeback pass, where the receiver made a nice adjustment and hauled in the pass for about a ten-yard gain. On a negative note, Costa threw a quick screen to Brent Bolden, but the defense sniffed it out and stopped it for a loss.
The two freshmen got a few snaps as well. Kris Heavner was 3-4, with a couple of nice downfield throws. Richard Kovalcheck was just 1-3, but suffered from a bit of bad luck. The freshman threw a bullet to Ben di Grazia, but the pass bounced off the walk-on's chest and flew up into the air where Clay Hardt was waiting for the interception.
Cliff Stanford continues to show a feistiness. The true freshman continues to battle with the veterans and does not back down. At times he lets his temper flare when he gets beat, but so far there have been no incidents. There is a good chance that Stanford is going to be needed this season and he is trying to prove that he is tough enough to handle the job.
Another newcomer has been up and down, but looks like he could be a player. Phil Clark looked a little lost at times this morning. At one point he had to stand next to Brandon Phillips for a bit of tutoring. Later on he missed a block and it became apparent that he was unclear on a concept. After some brief coaching from Charlie Dickey he went out and executed the technique perfectly, garnering praise from line coach Mike Deal.
John Abramo went down early in practice but appears to be fine.
Linebackers have been playing well. Walk-on junior linebacker Justin Stewart has been getting a lot of reps at middle linebacker and has shown some good quickness. JC transfer Marquell Stinson has nice size and it seems as if his motor is always running. Kirk Johnson continues to play well. With Pat Howard being held out of contact, Johnson has made the most out of his extra reps. He's been all over the field and is filling holes well on run plays.
Brenton Bolden shows a lot of promise. He hits the holes well and seems to have a good burst.
*Tanner Bell still has a lot of swelling and the extent of his knee injury is still not known. Mackovic says that he expects that Bell will have an MRI after the swelling decreases.
*John Parada was held out of practice with his knee injury. Mackovic expects him to miss a few days, but does not think it will hold him out any longer.
*Cedric Cofer is day to day. He's injured leg is still not as strong as he needs it to be so the team is being careful. Mackovic did not know how much rest the leg would need or how it would affect his ability to play this season. Cofer is in a boot and using crutches, but Mackovic described it as being "irritable."
*Those attending practice got excited when a jumbo jet flew over the practice field heading towards Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Many thought it could be the President, but it turned out to be his support staff on a practice run. The President landed about an hour after practice ended. *Almost half the team left early to take a bus back to campus. Those players have summer school classes. They will also miss time on Wednesday, but after that they will be available full time.
*Mackovic had no new word on any of the players with academic issues. He said they have been communicating with the professors and will know as soon as possible.
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