Spring practice report: defense day 2

Day two was much the same as day one. The defense asserted itself over the offense, which is expected early in spring camp. Total Blue Sports goes down position by position and evaluates some of the top performances by some of the Cougar defenders on the second day of a physical spring camp.

First up in Tuesday's evaluations is the defensive line where, again, it was physical with many different players getting a chance to show their stuff.

Defensive line

Of the newcomers, Moses Kaumatule is showing a solid performance running on the second-team. He's still learning to play in the three technique, but overall is holding his own and at times forcing the issue on the outside. He's quick and strong, and when he wants to, he can assert a lot of his will on the right offensive tackle. His style of play reminds one of a young Ian Dulan.

The most consistent have been Romney Fuga at nose guard and Eathyn Manumaleuna at right tackle. Left tackle has seen a rotation of Dulan and Mike Muehlmann. Both are doing well in containment and gap responsibilities. Overall the first-team defense is making it tough for running backs.

In regards to newcomer Marques Johnson, he has some conditioning work to do. In the position mastery portion of Tuesday's practice, Coach Mendenhall worked with Johnson and he seemed to be picking up the different responsibilities well given the calls. However, in the pursuit drill part of practice, Johnson struggled, as is expected with most newcomers.

Middle linebackers

Uona Kaveinga and Brandon Ogletree continue to bring that nasty attitude in the middle. In fact, on the second play of the first scrimmage, Kaveinga recorded a sack on Riley Nelson.

At the Mike linebacker position, Zac Stout made a nice one-handed deflection of a pass on the second-team. Also, Tyler Beck had a good showing at the Buck linebacker position and made a nice pursuit play, stuffing the run against Michael Alisa and Adam Hine.

It was primarily Stout and Beck that gave the second-team running backs, such as Hine, a difficult time finding the holes in the line Tuesday. Stout was physical on the inside and in pursuit of the running backs around the corners. Beck really seems to be asserting himself more and looks more comfortable at the Buck linebacker position.

Outside linebackers

Alani Fua made an athletic play at the field side linebacker position. Fua dropped back and swatted the ball out of midair, causing an incompletion. Spencer Hadley is doing well out at field side linebacker. His speed is very noticeable, as is his physicality in pass defense while covering tight ends. Hadley was involved in very good pass coverage for the second day in a row at the field side linebacker position.

Cornerbacks

The cornerback that is making a name for himself is field side cornerback Jordan Johnson. On one particular play, Ross Apo was streaking down the side of the field and Johnson was in his pocket all the way. As the ball was in the air, Johnson made a play on it, knocking it away to the cheers of his teammates.

There was a bit of a changeup Tuesday at the boundary side. Safety Mike Hague went out at the cornerback position and didn't do too bad. When Sampson was in with Sorensen at the safety positions, Hague went over and played cornerback. It was the double-take moment of Tuesday's practice.

Safeties

Joe Sampson recorded an interception against Nelson. Jray Galea'i also recorded an interception against Ammon Olsen, but it was during the skeli period of practice. Daniel Sorensen continues to assert his aggressive style of play despite not being in pads. His reads were quicker Tuesday, as were Sampson's in the cover-two.

Hague also got some time in at the safety position when Sampson was in the nickel package or on the sidelines. Hague's play from the safety position was fast and very decisive. In fact, he nearly collided with Nelson as he scrambled down the sidelines in pursuit. The play led to more feistiness, which has been the theme of this spring so far.


Total Blue Sports Top Stories