The team went through drills in which short hitches and short slants where quarterbacks make hot reads, which seems to be a hallmark of a Robert Anae coached offense, were practiced extensively in the early going.
The highlights of the drill were:
-Gordon jumped a hitch pass attended for Daniel Coats knocking the ball down and almost picking it off
-Spencer White picked off a Jason Beck pass
-Brett Cooper caught a 40 yard pass from Jason Beck on a fly pattern
-Johnny Harline again showed well, taking a 20 yard pass from Jason Beck to the end zone
The defense saw success early during the drills, but the offense took over late as John Beck and Matt Berry saw more reps. The offense then took that momentum into a light scrimmage which concluded Monday's practice:
-John Beck took the field first and threw an incompletion which was followed by a short pass to Breyon Jones for about 4 yards. Aaron Wagner and Matt Ah You then converged on Curtis Brown in the backfield dropping him for a loss. John Beck's reps concluded with a 25 yard strike to Saia Hafoka.
-Jason Beck then got his first crack and promptly completed a 5 yard flare pass to C. Brown. Fahu Tahi then ran the ball up the middle for a 3 yard gain which should have been a loss as Tahi juked the defenders effectively in the backfield making something out of nothing on the play. His set of reps concluded with a 13 yard pass to Matt Smith
-Matt Berry then got his first crack and C. Brown took the first snap running the ball off tackle for about a 30 yard gain. This was followed by an outstanding one-handed grab by Reed that went for about 8 yards on a pass that was thrown behind him. Berry's set of reps concluded with a 10 yard run by Tahi up the middle
-Jason Beck then got another set of reps that included a 30 yard pass to Coats and a 4 yard run by C. Brown
-Berry then got another set of reps that included a 7 yard pass to Meikle and an 8 yard pass to Zac Collie
-John Beck then got another turn that included a 7 yard run by Wayne Latu, a 6 yard pass to Meikle, a 9 yard pass to Breyon Jones and a very nice pass deflection by Chris Hale on an attempted pass to David Gooch.
-Berry then got another turn and it included a 12 yard run by Latu, a 3 yard pass to Joe Griffin and an incompletion on a fly pattern deep downfield where Russell Hill had great coverage knocking the ball away from Reed
-John Beck then got the last reps and had a 12 yard completion to Coats which was followed by a beautiful gap-splitting pass to Harline that went the distance for about a 60 yard score. After being sacked by TJ Sitake he threw an 8 yard slant to Griffin and practice concluded.
"I think our offense looked better today than they have thus far," said Mendenhall. "I think it's because of the effort they've been putting forth in practice and the timing is getting better."
After one week of practice this spring Mendenhall looked back and assessed what he's seen thus far: "I think we're right on. I expected to be frustrated with the execution, but it's about where I thought it would be. I'm excited about the willingness of the players. We're demanding a lot out of them and they're not flinching. So I'm impressed with that and now we just need to translate that into football at a higher level."
-Cameron Jensen suited up, but did not participate in most drills having had a string of injuries. "Cameron Jensen had a deep shin contusion is what they told me and he'll probably be out probably until Thursday," said Mendenhall. "He wants to be out and he has a fractured toe as well. If it were up to him, then he'd go."
-Kuresa will go under the knife later this week having surgery done on his shoulder that will end spring practice for the promising right tackle. "Kuresa will have surgery later this week," said Mendenhall. "We were planning on having his surgery done after spring practice, but on Thursday after an MRI, they found it to be a bit more serious and he'll miss the next three months."
-Paul Walkenhorst was excused from Thursday's practice according to Coach Mendenhall as Walkenhorst decides in earnest what to do with the rest of his football career. Said Mendenhall, "He's just assessing what he wants to do with his life and he has my full support whether he continues to play or not."