DAY 15: Harris' Loss is Grisom's Gain
BERKELEY -- Maurice Harris's misfortune has turned into James Grisom's gain.
For the past week, the redshirt sophomore has been catching balls primarily with one hand, and on Tuesday, he finally started catching more and more passes with both paws, but still spent the second half of practice doing conditioning, thanks to a fractured finger that's still giving him trouble.
While head coach Sonny Dykes said that Harris's lack of full-contact practice time wouldn't hinder his ability to play on Aug. 31 against Northwestern, it's been hard to deny how effective Grisom has been in his stead, particularly on Tuesday, as he spelled first-team X-receiver Bryce Treggs.
"We're trying to make sure we watch everybody's legs," said outside receivers coach Rob Likens. "Bryce has gotten probably more reps than anybody in camp, so I'm just making sure I'm counting reps and making sure that Bryce doesn't get too many. We want to keep everybody's legs fresh."
Grisom was a one-man gang on Tuesday, showing up early in 11-on-11 work against the Nos. 1 and 2 defense, hauling in a quick out route from Zach Kline and reeling in every catchable ball during seven-on-seven work.
Treggs, for his part, was also as solid as he's been all camp, taking to the air to snag a high sideline pass from Kline on the right for eight yards in skeleton work, and during 11-on-11s, he was a favorite target of both Kline and Jared Goff, gaining 20 yards on a left sideline pass from Goff starting on the offense's 30-yard line.
Redshirt freshman Kenny Lawler had his second straight standout day on the outside behind Biletnikoff Award Watch List member Chris Harper, catching a deep post from Goff in seven-on-seven work against Joel Willis, beating his former fellow receiver for a 30-yard touchdown. In 11-on-11s, Goff found Lawler again from his own 35, hitting the 6-foot-3, 185-pounder on a seam route against Hardy Nickerson and Jalen Jefferson. Goff put just enough touch on the throw to allow Lawler to high-point the ball right where only he could get to it, and away from the defense, giving Lawler room to run.
Harper was no slouch, either, taking a 30-yarder from Goff down into the red zone, just in-bounds between Alex Logan and Isaac Lapite on another picture-perfect touch ball from the true freshman signal-caller, who completed seven straight passes in seven-on-seven work.
The first-team offensive line seems to have settled in now, after more than a week practicing together. Projected right tackle starter Bill Tyndall is not at 100%, according to Dykes, but he's well enough from offseason ankle surgery to be competing for a spot. It seems unlikely, though, that he'll supplant Steven Moore before Aug. 31.
"He's competing right now for a job," Dykes said. "He'll continue to do that, and he's practicing. He's back. I wouldn't say he's 100 percent back yet. He's close. He's rusty. Moore has played so well that he deserves to be the starter right now, and Tyndall's going to have to compete and see what happens."
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