Today the bears took the field early in the morning covered in a new wardrobe. They were decked in full pads for the first time this spring. Lots of spectators were on the sidelines ready to see some hits and collisions made between players. However with all the anticipation, today was a rather light day of hitting. The players did tackle a little, but there was no action of laying a player out and it was really only initial contact with a wrapping up following. Although there were a few big pops scattered throughout the practice. The biggest coming from Ben Hixson when he hit Mikail Baker on a cross route and then Dwain Crawford laying out Trey Payne after catching a quick slant from Shawn Bell.
A major positive to take from today's practice is that the offense looked better than it had all spring. Shawn Bell was in rhythm today and connected with every wide receiver that ran a route. During scrimmaging he made all kinds of big throws and was able to protect the ball from the defense. Bell's two biggest throws were made to Dominque Ziegler on a long post route over James Todd and then Bell connected with Trent Shelton on a great corner to the right getting by Joshua Bell.
Another key component in the offense success was the play of Terrance Parks at tight end. Parks ran a hitch play to the outside numerous times that picked up around 20-30 yards each time. Parks caught nearly everything and with his speed and bulky frame, he is a load to bring down when he is heading downfield. As well as Bell did today, Szymanski also had some moments as well; connecting on a few big passes, one to trey payne and another to Carl Sims. Speaking of Carl Sims, it has only been half of week and he is already making an impact on the offense. He was getting a lot of reps and making plays when happen during them. His foot speed will be hard to keep off the field.
On the defensive side of the ball were a few players who big days. Damien Taylor made a couple great rushes into the quarterback and M.T. Robinson also caused some havoc in the trenches as well. In the secondary, Maurice Linquist made two nice reads on the ball and deflected one pass from Szymanski that ended up an interception for James Todd.
As time goes on during the spring, you get the sense that the offense is getting more comfortable with the new system. When it is run smoothly it is obvious that the defense has trouble covering all the options that spread the field. When seeing the effects of this system in practice, one can only think that a polished offense will be able to move the ball down the field and have a chance to put unlimited amounts of points on the scoreboard.
Several recruits were watching today's practice with their families and friends.
Special teams practiced field goals today during the scrimmage. Ryan Havens went 1 for 2 in attempts.
Spring Practice Recap: 3/25
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