On a devilishly hot day the Red Wolves hit the fields outside the stadium. I'll dispense with the pleasantries and give you the good news first (especially after the way the Spring went): No one was in the injury area. Chris Murray still has a limp, but decidedly better than the last time I saw him run. He was in a no contact jersey but went through most of the drills and walk through periods.
A little bad news, Sawyer Williams was not there today as they are dealing with a family matter. Please have him in your thoughts.
Some news on new guys:
- A few of the guys who are coming in during camp were not there today, best guess is that they are going to have to watch for a little bit and then will be able to join later. Austin Copeland and Sterling Wright had the same thing in 2014. Guys who this may apply to: Lanard Bonner, Armond Weh Weh, Gilbert Gildersleeve, Allen Byrd.
- Alex Novak worked as the #2 RT, big, strong looking kid.
- Antwon Turnage is in #40 and worked at the Will Linebacker spot.
- Transfers from Fayetteville, Klint Harvey (#71) and Kendrick Edwards (#86) look the part.
- No one looked too lost, even the guys who got here yesterday, so that is encouraging.
With them being on the grass fields today (it was still 114 degrees for a heat index) most of what I got to see was offensive work.
- Offensively I think we're going to try to be faster than last year.
- There seems to be a progression of calls to the plays that will lend itself to being very fast, everything seems based on the fact that they can do a lot of other things off it.
- We are going to move guys all over the formation. Outside WRs at Slot, A-Backs at RB, RBs at Outside, TEs everywhere.
- Tempo was probably low today as they got people lined up and in position, but expect that to pick up as camp moves along.
- Biggest issue with the offense in terms of problems was catching the ball. A normal early camp problem that should get better as they move further along.
- Some new guys or new numbers (offensive edition): Sterling Stowers 19, Blake Mack 16, Chris Booker 13, Brandon Bowling 82, Brandon Brockman 87, Kendrick Edwards 86, Kendall Sanders 4, Carson Coats 10, Logan Bonner 12, Jacob Atnip 77, Jacob Still 64, Troy Elliott 67, Alex Novak 64, Klint Harvey 71, Malachi Stout 34. There were some more that I couldn't identify, I will try to have those by the end of the week.
- Quarterbacks: There were good moments from all of the QBs actually and Faulkner and Anderson both praised the two guys at the front of the race on their communication. Hansen seems to want to be a safer guy, possibly to the point of overthinking, while Voytik has a little Brett Favre in him (see: Gunslinger).
- The tempo was down, but it still felt fast. Guys coming off and on the field.
- It seems that for the moment (without Weh Weh) that the top three RBs are Wand, White, and DRD. Though Jamal Jones got reps as well.
- The speed on both sides of the ball is just seemingly at another level than what we've experienced.
- Seems that because we'll see guys lined up everywhere, that bubble and jet motion will be in play for everyone.
- The phrase of the day on offense? "BE PERFECT"
- OL worked a drill that I hadn't seen them do since JB Grimes left, which is the first step drill, really emphasizing getting their first step right so that they're in the correct position for their assignment.
- OL also worked a drill to work to the second and even third level of the defense, something that we struggled with last year.
- Running backs worked ball security and TEs really emphasized blocking both in and out of line.
- Quote from Norval McKenzie to the RBs: "You want to be at the back of the line, then stay at the back of the line."
- Some things we haven't seen much of in games but might come back, Flag/Corner routes seemed to be big with A-B/TEs.
- Omar Bayless had the catch of the day, on a ball that was thrown in tight coverage and batted in the air, came back and won the jump ball.
- No INTs for the defense today. Offensive side only had one ball on the ground during the inside drill portion of practice.
- Jaylon Marshall also had a nice catch along the sideline, going up and high pointing a ball, getting both feet in before going out of bounds on a deep ball.
- Both Voytik and Hansen were fairly accurate, though it feels that Hansen takes a little longer to go through progressions (being less experienced might have something to do with that). Voytik fit the ball into some tough windows over the middle, but also forced some balls that were tipped or receivers made good plays on. After day one, too close to call, and glad I don't have to make a decision on it.
- That being said, I feel we're in better shape at QB than we have been in a long time as far as quality AND depth.
- Voytik and Mack had a good day, connecting on several balls against the safeties and LBs.
I was able to see the defense during the integrated periods.
- Number game with the D: Paul Swanson 34, Ben Sukut 8, BJ Edmonds 3, Trent Ellis 26, Jeremy Smith 24, Antwon Turnage 40. Again there were some who I couldn't indentify, so I will try to fill in the gaps as we move along.
- Two deep at LB: Mike-Heath/Wilson, Will-Woodson-Luster/Lain, NB-Clifton/Sukut (As of now)
- Some of the young guys looked good in the back end, Jeremy Smith covered Kendall Sanders step for step on a go route and had a couple nice plays on the ball. Niko Johnson (#23) had a good day as Trooper said "I don't know his name, but I'm gonna call him blanket, because he covered him up"
- Bo Sentimore looks 100% for the first time since before Mizzou.
- DL is going to be something to watch. (Good) Though the first OL held their own. Second OL though struggled with the depth we have at the DL.
- Only time they whistled for a sack was when Swalley beat Cam Davis and Berg to get to Voytik. There were several other times when pressure might have gotten there or that could have been blown.
- The back end speed is there, as long as the assignment is sound, we should be able to do some things defensively.
- #1 CBs today were Wagner and Byner. Both looked good.
- Chambers worked at the Mike in the #3 spot.
- Robert Mondie officially got cleared on his eligibility and he got some reps at the 3-technique.
- JD Houston has really strengthened his leg. He was putting balls through from 50 yards in prepractice with room to spare. With Williams not there, he got all the reps.
- Damon Foncham got most of the punt reps, though Echols-Luper got some after he worked on returning punts for a while. Foncham has a good leg, but his inconsistency may lead to CEL getting more looks back there.
- The team went through three separate special teams periods. As they say, "Special teams win special games"
- The coaches were fairly pleased with the first day, but as the tempo increases they want to see improvement.
- Coach Anderson talked about building a football-shape foundation.
- The players and coaches I talked to agreed that while this team is in great conditioning shape, that they need to get in football shape.