Senior Kevin Riley's passes looked crisp as he essentially took all his reps with the first team. His most impressive pass was in the final team period, when he hit WR Michael Calvin in the corner of the end zone on an up-and-out route. Riley also threw a nice ball to a wide open Shane Vereen for another touchdown.
Sophomore Beau Sweeney also looked good throwing the ball, with his best throw also coming in team period. Under pressure, Sweeney rolled to his right and hit a wide-open Jarrett Sparks for a big gain.
Sweeney did have issues with protection, as he was sacked by DE Cameron Jordan on one play, and stripped by NT Kendrick Payne on the next. Sweeney split the second team reps with junior Brock Mansion.
Mansion did not look as crisp as Riley on this day, as he had a number of passes deflected or misfired. His best pass came on a tight spiral to a well-covered Michael Calvin, who made the catch and ran up the sideline for a good gain.
It should be to nobody's surprise that junior Shane Vereen continues to look good in both running and catching the ball.
Vereen showed off his usual repertoire of moves, which include a nice cutback and simply outrunning the defense to reach the corner for a nice gain. He also ran an excellent route in the final team period; where Riley found him wide open in the end zone for a touchdown.
The second team running back was sophomore Covaughn Deboskie-Johnson, who also made his own mini-reel. In one-on-ones, Deboskie-Johnson broke the tackle of sophomore linebacker Kameron Krebs to reach the end zone. But his best run came near the end of the final team period. Running to his left, Deboskie-Johnson was surrounded by defenders with no room to run. Cornered for a loss, Deboskie-Johnson juked a defender and then immediately broke a tackle, as he managed to turn a three-yard loss into an impressive five-yard touchdown run.
Freshmen Desarte Yarnway and Trajuan Briggs also looked good running the ball. Yarnway's best run came on an option play in team period, as he showed off impressive speed to pick up 20 yards. Briggs, in 1-on-1, beat a linebacker for a touchdown.
The wide receiver position seems to be wide open in terms of the competition.
The wide receivers with the most reps include senior Jeremy Ross, junior Michael Calvin, junior Marvin Jones, and junior Alex Lagemann. Calvin ran a nice up-and-out route in team period to make an even better catch in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown. He also dropped a couple of passes. Lagemann ran good short routes and was good at getting separation running slants.
The overall depth at wide receiver looks decent. But Tedford and the offense hope that two or three of the guys really step up to take the spot.
Junior Anthony Miller returns as the first string tight end, though he was fairly quiet today.
Sophomore Spencer Ladner ran good routes, but dropped a couple of passes in 1-on-1 and team period, the latter of which would have at least resulted in a big gain, and possibly a touchdown.
Sophomore Jarrett Sparks caught some nice passes from Sweeney, including one that resulted in a 26-yard gain.
Junior Mitchell Schwartz sat out practice with some tightness in his back. As a result, the first unit offensive line was as follows: sophomore Matt Summers-Gavin at LT, senior Richard Fisher at LG, senior Chris Guarnero at C, junior Justin Cheadle at RG, and senior Donovan Edwards at RT.
The offensive line opened up holes for a few nice runs, but had a tough time dealing with the interior of the defensive line. In addition, the offensive line committed a few false start penalties during the team period.
The starting defensive line featured senior Cameron Jordan at DE, sophomore Kendrick Payne at NT, and junior Trevor Guyton at DE.
Overall, the defensive line had an excellent day, good enough to draw praise from head coach Jeff Tedford after practice. The two players who really stood out were Payne and senior Mike Costanzo. In the final team period, Payne managed to knock the ball out of Sweeney's hands to force a fumble. Later in the team period, Payne made a couple of huge hits to rile up the defense – one that went for a big loss, while the other forcing Deboskie-Johnson to fumble it about five yards forward. Costanzo also managed to get a sack on Sweeney. In the final team period, Costanzo made a nice shoestring tackle to prevent a big gain. On the very next play, Costanzo made a huge hit on Briggs, sending the defense into an uproar.
Other guys who had good days were senior NT Derrick Hill, who managed to sack Mansion and make a nice play at the line, and Jordan, who was also credited for stripping Sweeney for a sack and fumble.
As expected, Mohamed was all over the field, making stops and big hits on a consistent basis. On back-to-back plays, Mohamed leveled sophomore Isi Sofele and Yarnway, causing the entire defense to erupt.
Some of the highlights of the linebackers include Browner stopping Vereen from reaching the outside in team period, senior Charles Johnson sacking Sweeney, junior Ryan Davis combining with Derrick Hill to sack Mansion, and Holt trucking Emery in 1-on-1's, causing the linebacking core to celebrate. As a group, the linebackers struggled in 1-on-1's with the running backs, but made up for it with an excellent team period.
The first team secondary featured senior Bryant Nnabuife and sophomore Josh Hill at the corners, with junior D.J. Campbell and senior Chris Conte acting as safeties. Senior Darian Hagan participated in practice and got reps with both the first and second team. Freshman Steve Williams also got plenty of reps and made some very nice plays.
Campbell turned out a very good practice, making some nice defensive stops along with a few crushing hits. With the safety spots wide open with the recent injury to junior Sean Cattouse, Campbell made his presence felt today.
Hill did well in pass protection. In 1-on-1's with the receivers, Hill did a nice job recovering to catch up with Jeremy Ross to break up the pass. In team period on the goal line, Hill also did a nice job breaking up another pass in the end zone.
With the focus on the kickers today, both junior Giorgio Tavecchio and sophomore Vince D'Amato did not disappoint. Giorgio managed to kick the ball twice into the end zone on kickoffs, while D'Amato kicked it to the three-yard line. D'Amato made all of his field goal attempts, while Tavecchio only missed his first attempt.
On the defense:
"The defense did a nice job today. They were very stingy, and did a great job. It's very encouraging."
On the defensive line:
"[The Defensive Line] played very well today. I thought they played very fast, very physical. We have some depth on the defensive line. We have a lot of depth at the nose, and a lot of depth at the ends with [Ernest Owusu] and Trevor Guyton... those guys have stepped up and have done the job. There is some depth there."
On Kendrick Payne:
"He played great today. He was in the backfield a lot. He's right there in the mix to start. He has played really, really well. He's healthy for the first time. He was injured a lot last year."
On the Quarterbacks and the competition to start:
"There's really no change. They're all continuing to get equal reps, and we're doing good things. Not perfect, by any means. But I think all of them are progressing and getting better."
On the defense versus the offense:
"The defense played well today. They did a good job of stuffing the run. They really did a nice job. I'm anxious to watch the tape and see, because they were playing really hard and doing good stuff, but we weren't playing very well on offense. You always have mixed emotions as a head coach: you look great on defense, but bad on offense. We have to see who it was against and if it involved young guys, or if it was blown assignments. I'm sure it was all of them.
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