It was a tough go again Tuesday for the quarterbacks, but of all the quarterbacks, it was Nelson that had the best day.
Nelson threw a quick hit to tight end Marcus Mathews over the middle as Mathews weaved in and out between the linebackers. Nelson also hit junior receiver Dallin Cutler and a streaking Zed Mendenhall down the sideline. On a swing pass, Nelson also hit Joshua Quezada, who made an acrobatic one-handed catch during skeli drills. The biggest play of the day would have been a deep pass to Ross Apo, who just missed making the catch.
One of the better passes came when James Lark connected with Terenn Houk, who climbed the ladder to make the catch over a defender.
Quezada had the best day of practice Tuesday among the backs. Running with the second team – not because he's second on the depth chart, but because it was just the rotation – Quezada did all of his damage between the tackles. He ran two plays up the middle for sizable gains. On one run, Quezada burst through up the middle in the two-gap untouched for what could have been a 50-yard touchdown had the whistle not been blown. He was pursued by a chasing safety that made ground but couldn't fully catch him.
Newcomer Paul Lasike had his moment in the sun, albeit sort of a funny one. After busting through the defensive line he cut back against the grain past pursuing defenders. Once he got past, he slowed down and started walking back to the offense, thinking the play was over. Coach Doman and Coach DuPaix then informed Lasike that he needed to start running again, which he did.
Hine didn't fare well Tuesday and was stopped for a loss on a run.
As already mentioned, Terenn Houk made an athletic play on the ball for a sizable gain. Houk is one to keep an eye on as he continues to develop within the offense. Dallin Cutler also made his presence known again over the middle on short cut routes. Both Cody Hoffman and Ross Apo were quiet during Tuesday's practice.
Marcus Mathews made some noise Tuesday after catching a 30-yard pass downfield, but the one tight end that made a surprise appearance was 6-foot-5-inch newcomer Trevor Brown. Brown, who is the younger brother of Braden Brown, caught a couple of passes on the day over the middle and in the secondary.
There were some good things and some not so good things on Tuesday. The o-line allowed a few sacks and, a few times, didn't assert itself at the point of attack, allowing defenders to dictate the trenches. There were times when defenders dented the pocket and found their way into the backfield to disrupt the play.
However, there were flashes with the line, creating a breath of fresh air when it came to the run game. On several occasions, the offensive line blew open holes, allowing backs to run through virtually untouched. There might have been more production from the rushing game Tuesday, but being that the team isn't in pads, the whistle is often blown quickly by coaches. Still, the temperament of the offensive line is feisty and physical, and that's a breath of fresh air. It will be interesting to see what the big guys can do up front once the pads come one.
Safety Craig Bills was on hand to watch practice Tuesday. Bills extended his mission an extra month and so missed getting enrolled in school. He's currently taking online classes and will be ready to go in the fall. In regards to his physical condition, Bills grew an inch or two but lost some weight. He'll need to get his size back and looked to be around 175 pounds.