Day four: practice notes and observations

Monday was a good day for both the offense and defense in what was another practice with only helmets on. Here is a full report on how the fourth day of Cougar fall camp went down.

Defensive observations

Free safety Mike Hague got the call Monday, as projected starter Joe Sampson is still out for disciplinary reasons. Sampson may possibly return for Tuesday's practice.

At the Will linebacker position, Kyle Van Noy was back out again and looking like his old self, harassing quarterbacks and pressuring from the outside.

But what about Ezekiel Ansah now that Van Noy is taking the bulk of the Will linebacker reps? Ansah was back with the defensive line during position work early in practice. It's readily apparent that Ansah is being groomed to play both positions – and could do so comfortably and with full trust from the coaches – when called upon.

At the Sam linebacker position, Spencer Hadley ran with the first team to start things off. He and Alani Fua continue to battle to solidify a spot there.

Along with Jordan Johnson, DeQuan Everett got some reps over on the field side in pass coverage Monday as Preston Hadley took over at boundary. Skye PoVey also got some time playing field Monday, as Buckner is still nursing an injury.

Special teams

Deep snapper Reed Hornung looks more like a Division I defensive lineman than a deep snapper. The 6-foot-2-inch senior looks much larger than his 249-pound roster listing. On Monday Hornung was doing running drills with strength and conditioning coach Justin McClure. McClure had Hornung running cones drills and agility drills along with pulling weights on a sled.

Offensive observations

Fredshirt freshman Alex Kuresa lined up at the outside receiver position. In watching Kuresa run, he's very fluid and will be someone that Coach Cahoon can work with and develop. He's an athlete, and the wide receiver position will suit him much better at the Division I level than quarterback would have.

Famika Anae dinged up his knee Monday. The big offensive lineman got tangled up with someone and was seen walking off the field with his leg wrapped with ice.

Seven-on-seven success

During the seven-on-seven period of Monday's practice, the quarterbacks had to complete a pass in order to continue the drive. Both Nelson and Lark did very well marching their teams downfield, picking apart the defense. Nelson threw one touchdown pass during the period, and so did Lark.

There was a quarterback wearing a #4 jersey on Monday, but it wasn't Uona Kaveinga. Freshman quarterback Taysom Hill, normally #12, switched numbers.

NFL on campus

A NFL scout from the Atlanta Falcons was out on the field observing many players running through position drills. It is not known who exactly the Falcons are scouting, but this is an NFL program that Coach DuPaix visited over the summer to broaden his ideas.

Offensive line adjustments

The players that took the field with the first-team offensive line were: left tackle Ryker Mathews, left guard Solomone Kafu, center Blair Tushaus, right guard Ryan Freeman, and right tackle Braden Brown.

Manaaki Vaitai, who started out at right guard the first few days of practice, didn't participate on Monday. Throughout spring camp, Vaitai has had to leave practice early to attend classes, leaving others to get a chance to get reps. That includes Brock Stringham, who wore a walking boot last week, but wasn't wearing it on Monday. Instead, he was running with Justin McClure. Senior Ryan Freeman got a majority of the reps at right guard in their absence Monday.

The second group of linemen to take the field were: left tackle Braden Hansen, left guard Famika Anae, center Houston Reynolds, right guard Walter Kahaiali'i and left tackle Michael Yeck.

Conditioning with McClure

There were five injured players working out with McClure: Tui Crichton, Houston Reynolds, Marques Johnson, Brock Stringham and Michael Doman.

Monday's practice was again held with just helmets, but that will change on Tuesday when the team wears shells.

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