G-Notes

G-man gives his observations from the first day of fall practices. The first day is a media frenzy, so it was hard to focus on much. As with most fall practice sessions, the focus of the first day was on the newcomers. G-man was there taking notes on all of it.

-What jumped out to me the first day were the new wide receivers. Wow, they're impressive. Brett Thompson received most of the hype among the true freshmen coming in, and he saw immediate work with the second-team offense, which isn't a usual occurrence for true freshmen in their very first practice session.

Cody Hoffman was very much an unknown coming in, but after the first day of practice one could readily see the potential. Hoffman is a bit raw in his route running, but showed very good agility for a player of his size. He is every bit of 6 feet 4 inches and fans should be optimistic regarding his prospects.

Mitch Mathews was the one who perhaps showed the best of all of them during the first day. Every time I see Mathews he seems to be taller. In speaking with his mother, she related that he's at least 6 feet 6 inches now and inching toward 6 feet 7 inches, as she believes he's still growing.

Mathews moves extremely well for his size and has been well coached out of high school. His wasn't the first name one would think of when thinking about true freshmen that would contribute immediately, but considering his superior size coupled with what he showed on Saturday, he may find a role within the offense this coming season.

-I was asked a lot about McKay Jacobson in chat following practice, and it occurred to me that I probably didn't note just how good he looked on Saturday. For this reporter, Jacobson is a known commodity along the lines of Dennis Pitta, Harvey Unga and others. Jacobson simply dominated drills in an Austin Collie-like fashion and it's something I'd suspect from such a well-polished player.

-Regarding the incoming cornerbacks, we've obviously noted just how good Robbie Buckner looked, so I won't rehash that here. I knew Brian Logan...

...was stocky, having seen him hanging around practice during the spring, but what was apparent during the first day was that Lee Aguirre is just about the same size.

As both of their highlight tapes indicated, these two can hit and it's easy to see why after seeing them up close. Given their size and ability to tackle I could see either being switched over to safety in the coming years.

Corby Eason looked to have a good skill set as well, although he looked to be about 15 pounds lighter than either Aguirre or Logan.

Eason was noticeably struggling with the altitude, but also had some nice moments. Regardless, all three looked capable. We'll obviously be noting any progress and movement they make up the depth chart throughout fall camp.

-Jray Galea'i is bigger than I remember seeing during camps a couple of years ago. He saw a lot of time with the second-team defense and looked to have very good movement and instincts during his first day of practice.

Travis Uale joined with Galea'i in playing with the second-team secondary and looked better than I remember seeing from him during past practice sessions. Uale has very good size and can cover a lot of the open field. He should make a strong bid for a spot on the two-deep roster this season.

Craig Bills is currently with the third-team defense, but I think it's only a matter of time before he gets a shot with the second team. Bills worked very hard to acclimate himself to Jaime Hill's system and I would expect him to make an impact on the practice field during the coming days.

-Jordan Pendleton showed what his strength will be while playing strong side linebacker. Pendleton should be counted on to thrive in the open field and in coverage. As he closed very quickly on a pass over the middle to Harvey Unga and dislodged the ball, one could see how it will benefit the defense to have him play at the SOLB position. Pendleton will continue to work on his play along the line and taking on blocks, but coaches are obviously impressed with the progress he's made.

-Braden Brown is someone that the defensive players probably aren't fond of going against during practices. He is a very physical player who likes to mix it up on the field. Brown should benefit the offense greatly this year as a punishing run-blocker from both the fullback and tight end positions as his bides his time behind Dennis Pitta and Andrew George.

-It's really hard to gauge anything Riley Nelson does or how he looks until a couple of weeks go by during fall practices. It's a very normal thing for first-year quarterbacks to look relatively lost during the first two weeks of practice. Nelson will have to adjust to the timing of the routes and everything else involved in playing quarterback in Anae's system.

Once he does he could provide an exciting backup option given his ability to run the football. You won't hear much about Nelson during the first couple of weeks for the reasons explained above, but during the final two weeks it should become apparent what type of contribution Nelson will make this coming year.

-Riley Stephenson appears to have been worth the wait after one day of practice. His punts looked outstanding for the most part.

-Houston Reynolds saw the most work of all the incoming freshman offensive linemen during the first day of practices. Most of Reynolds' work was at right guard with the second-team offense. All of the Reynolds boys have been ahead of the curve when joining the team, and that certainly appears to be the case with Houston entering fall camp this season.


Total Blue Sports Top Stories