Fall Practice Report: Day 5

It was a day of firsts as the team practiced in full pads for the first time, while Drew Phillips was finally able to practice with the team after being cleared by the NCAA.

-The biggest news as the players took the field was Drew Phillips being dressed for the first time. He's obviously behind the curve after having missed the first four days and probably won't see serious work until the start of next week's practice sessions.

-The full team was in pads except for Phillips, as he'll have to undergo the acclimation period until he's able to participate fully.

-In watching the defensive backs, one has to wonder if Kori Gaines (recruited as a safety) won't be switched to cornerback while DeQuan Everett (recruited as a cornerback) won't be switched to safety. Gaines has very quick feet and holds his own during one-on-one drills while Everett doesn't have as quick of feet, but knows how to close on the ball very well and use his size effectively.

-With McKay Jacobson playing primarily from the HR spot, the most impressive and consistent receiver so far has probably been Luke Ashworth. He's shown very good hands and seems to be running sharper routes so far this fall.

Blue zone Drills

-Riley Nelson got the first set with the ones on offense going against the ones on defense. As is often the case, defense ruled the first contact work of the practice session. Nelson threw two incompletions and ran three times for 15 yards.

-Nelson missed a wide open McKay Jacobson in the end zone and then threw a pass that should have been picked off by Austen Jorgensen across the middle.

-Jake Heaps got the next set of reps with the ones on offense going against the twos on defense. His first pass was picked off by Robbie Buckner, who had very good coverage on the outside.

-Heaps did get the team into the end zone, however, on the strength of the running game. Bryan Kariya busted up the middle for an impressive 14-yard gain, and then after a 2-yard run by J.J. Di Luigi, Joshua Quezada took it into the end zone from 2 yards out.

-Matt Reynolds was subbed in for during the set with Braden Hansen taking his spot at left tackle.

-Nelson got the final set of reps and went 1-of-2 for 12 yards while directing the threes on offense against the threes on defense. His lone completion went for a touchdown when he hit tight end Richard Wilson across the middle.

-Brandon Bradley has quietly had a very good practice session from his starting boundary corner position. I can't remember even one pass completed against him during team drills and he's been dominating one-on-one drills. Look for him to have a big year.

-Early on it's Braden Brown, Romney Fuga and Matt Peterson as the last line of defense in the swinging-gate punt formation. Others that were tried in the formation were Graham Rowley, Thomas Bryson and Garrett Eskelsen.

-Coaches had the players running "monkey rolls" again, which I'm sure was received gladly by the players performing them.

-Matt Putnam practiced for the first time as he looks to start at one of the end positions.

Final Team Drills

-Riley Nelson got the first set of reps with the ones going against the ones. He finished the set going 1-of-2 for 13 yards with his one completion going to McKay Jacobson on a critical third-down play. Standout defensive plays were made by Andrew Rich and Kyle Van Noy, with each making a tackle for a loss.

-Mitch Payne connected on a 48-yard field goal to end the set.

-Jake Heaps got the next set with the twos going against the twos. He finished going 1-of-3 for 12 yards with the lone completion going to B.J. Peterson. Corby Eason made the best defensive play during the set, knocking the ball away from Ross Apo on a sideline route.

-James Lark took the next set of reps with the threes going against the threes, but it was Mike Hague who did all the work. Hague ran the ball four times for 24 yards and knocked two defensive players out of the practice session after laying his shoulder into them.

-Lark did not attempt a single pass, and the set ended with a Mitch Payne 50-yard field goal. Payne was hurt on the play and had to be carried off. We'll have more on that later.

-Heaps got the last set of the day and went 1-of-4 for 45 yards. His lone completion was to tight end Devin Mahina when he threaded the needle on a pass that was almost knocked down by Van Noy. Mahina then turned and took the ball downfield for another 35 yards after the completion.


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