Fall Practice Report: Day 8 (Updated)

The team practiced in shells following Saturday's scrimmage at LaVell Edwards Stadium. The second week is when the team and its depth chart really begin to take shape, as coaches were able to better evaluate where each player is at following film study of the first scrimmage.

Initial Observations

-This is the week where the true freshmen who hope to play really need to start asserting themselves. Ross Apo especially is in need of a good week if he hopes to crack the two-deep at wide receiver.

Apo's athleticism is apparent, but what he needs to work on is overall knowledge and confidence in the offensive system. He was lost way more during Saturday's practice than expected, so hopefully he cleans that up some this week.

-Other true freshmen we'll be watching earnestly this week are Joshua Quezada, Kyle Van Noy, Travis Tuiloma, Zac Stout and Graham Rowley. All five will have a good shot to make some waves and we'll see what contributions and progress they're able to make.

-Drew Phillips is finally dressed and should be completely done with the acclimation period now. We'll see what type of reps he gets.

-Tight end is obviously a hotly contested battle, with Mike Muehlmann and Devin Mahina being the two guys on top of the depth chart. If guys like Austin Holt, Richard Wilson and Marcus Mathews hope to break the two-deep, they need to start asserting themselves in practice.

-We'll be noting very carefully in the coming days which players get chances with the ones on offense and defense and how they do.

-Brandon Bradley continued to look outstanding during one-on-one drills. He jumps almost every route thrown his way and gives up little-to-no space between him and his coverage assignment.

Blue Zone Drills

-Outside linebacker Jordan Pendleton participated in team drills for the first time and looked great, accounting for at least one made play on a run for no gain.

-Riley Nelson got the first look with the ones on offense going against the ones on defense. After runs of 4 and 8 yards by Nelson, the team lined up for a short field goal. Riley Stephenson booted it through, getting much more height on the football than he did last week.

-Jake Heaps then got the next set with the twos going against the twos. After an incompletion, inside linebacker Austen Jorgensen busted through the line to account for a 2-yard loss on a run by David Foote.

-On 3rd-and-22, Heaps hit tight end Richard Wilson, who broke free across the middle for the touchdown.

-Heaps then got another set with the ones on offense going against the threes on defense. After an 11-yard run by J.J. Di Luigi, Heaps hit O'Neill Chambers in the back of the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown.

-Nelson then got in with the twos going against the twos, running the ball twice for 11 yards. Pendleton strung out Nelson's second running attempt for no gain.

-Nelson then hit Cody Hoffman in the back of the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown, which was almost identical to the touchdown pass Heaps threw to Chambers.

-James Lark then got some work with the threes on offense going against the ones on defense. He went 2-of-4 for 14 yards with completions to Mike Hague and Dallin Cutler.

-Defensive highlights included Andrew Rich jarring a pass loose from Mathew Edwards, and Jordan Richardson knocking down a pass at the line of scrimmage.

-Stephenson looked a lot better in kicking extra points, as he made 3-of-4, but had his last attempt blocked as he again failed to get the necessary height on the football.

-LaVell Edwards attended practice, watching the blue zone drills from the balcony.

Final Team Drills

-It's becoming more difficult to determine which defense is on the field, as coaches are mixing and matching guys much more. Jray Galea'i and Robbie Buckner were running with Steven Thomas and Brandon Bradley, while Andrew Rich and Brian Logan ran with Travis Uale and Corby Eason in the backfield for a lot of Monday's session.

-Nelson got the first set of reps during final team drills with the ones on offense going against the ones on defense. He was subsequently sacked by Jameson Frazier and then Jordan Pendleton to end the set with no passes attempted.

-Heaps then got in with the twos going against the twos. He went 3-of-5 for 33 yards with completions going to Rhen Brown for 20 yards, Spencer Hafoka for 2 yards and David Foote for 11 yards.

-Defensive highlights during the second set included Jordan Richardson busting through the middle to hold Algernon Brown to a rush of no gain. Aveni Leung-Wai saw his most action of the fall and showed well, recording a sack from his inside linebacker spot.

-Heaps then got the next set with the ones on offense going against the threes on defense. He threw both his passes incomplete, with Jordan Johnson showing some tight coverage and knocking down a long pass attempt to Chambers.

-Nelson then got the next set with the twos going against the twos. He went 1-of-2 during the set with a 6-yard pass completion to Ross Apo. Marcus Mathews dropped a third-down pass across the middle that would have kept the set going.

-Nelson then got another look with the ones going against the ones. He went 1-of-4 during the set, with his lone completion going to Joshua Quezada for a 12-yard gain on 3rd-and-10.

-Defensive highlights included Thomas Bryson and Zeke Mendenhall hurrying Nelson into an incompletion, along with Graham Rowley busting through the line for a sack.

-The last set saw Heaps guiding the ones against the ones in a situational drill in which there was 1:38 left on the clock and the offense was down by two points. Heaps finished the set going just 1-of-4 for 5 yards, with both Spencer Hafoka and Luke Ashworth dropping passes that would have gone for first downs.

-The defensive highlight during the set was Kyle Van Noy showing very good coverage across the middle, knocking down a pass attempted to Devin Mahina. There were a lot of drops by the wideouts and tight ends Monday, which is something the team will have to work on going forward.

-Riley Stephenson got better height on the ball during extra point attempts, but still has a lot to work on if Mitch Payne isn't able to play. Coach Mendenhall mentioned that he's asking the team if there is anyone that kicked extra points in high school, as the height Stephenson is getting is unacceptable.

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