Senior Kevin Riley looked crisp in his reps, and made was excellent with his decision-making, as he has been all spring. Riley was fairly accurate with all his throws, including those on the run. Some of Riley's highlights include a 19-yard pass to Anthony Miller down the middle of the field on 3rd-and-17 and a 34-yard pass to Alex Lagemann on 3rd-and-9, both of which came on Riley's first drive – an 18-play, 76-yard drive ending with a field goal.
Sophomore Beau Sweeney took the majority of the reps, and looked very good. This, despite getting leveled by freshman Steve Fanua on his second pass. Despite the hit, Sweeney lead the offense on a 8-play, 80-yard touchdown drive. On the drive, Sweeney made a nice pass to sophomore Spencer Ladner on a 21-yard gain. Later in practice, Sweeney was credited with a 60-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Jones, off a deflection. It is clear that the coaching staff wants Sweeney to get as many reps as possible.
Shane Vereen got limited reps as the coaching already knows what Vereen can do. Vereen's longest run of the day, on one drive, was 6 yards.
Sophomore Covaughn Deboskie-Johnson took the majority of the reps, and looks as though will be entering the fall in the lead to be Vereen's backup. Deboskie-Johnson capped off the offense's first drive with a 1-yard touchdown run, and later scored a touchdown on a nice 8-yard scamper.
Sophomore Isi Sofele had some very impressive runs, and had the run of the day with a 30-yard, Reggie Bush-like scamper that got the crowd on their feet. Sofele also barely missed a touchdown with a diving 11-yard scamper that had him marked out of bounds just short of the goal line. On top of that, Sofele also returned a punt 87 yards for a touchdown that was negated by a block in the back penalty.
It is becoming very apparent that Sofele will be an important piece for the offense this fall.
In the competition at fullback, Head coach Jeff Tedford said that junior Will Kapp is in the lead, but sophomore Eric Stevens had a very nice 43-yard run to set up the offense with a 1st-and-goal. Freshmen Desarte Yarnway and Trejuan Briggs also contributed on the ground.
Junior Marvin Jones had the catch of the day as he took a deflected Beau Sweeney pass and raced up the sidelines for a 60-yard touchdown. Aside from that, it was a quiet day for Jones.
Junior Alex Lagemann was solid catching the ball, but fumbled once on a hard hit by Jarred Price.
Senior Jeremy Ross was the star of the day, and that was without catching the ball. Ross' first highlight play was an 80-yard punt return straight up the middle for a touchdown that had the crowd on their feet. His second highlight play was a handoff on a reverse, where he scampered in for an 11-yard touchdown.
Freshman Spencer Hagan also had a nice 43-yard touchdown grab from Ryan Wertenberger.
Sophomore Spencer Ladner had a couple of catches, but his highlight was a 21-yard scamper in which he rumbled over defenders. Ladner later left practice after being on the receiving end of a huge hit. Junior Anthony Miller had a nice 19-yard reception on a 3rd-and-17.
The mixing and matching continued with the offensive line, which is still lingering with injuries. One offensive line unit featured senior Donovan Edwards at LT, sophomore Brian Schwenke at LG, senior Chris Guarnero at C, junior Justin Cheadle at RG, and junior Sam Demartinis at RT. The other unit featured freshman Charles Siddoway at RT, Cheadle at RG, Edwards at C, Schwenke at LG, and sophomore Matt Summers-Gavin at LT.
Tedford praised the offensive line's improvement and performance in today's practice. He particularly was happy with the way the line performed, despite guys being moved all over the place. He was particularly happy with Edwards, because his versatility to play center gives the offensive line even more flexibility.
Granted, the offensive line was definitely not perfect, as they still allowed their fair share of false starts, holding penalties, and a couple of fumbled exchanges. But the quarterbacks had noticeably better protection, and the running backs had some nice holes to run through.
The first unit defensive line featured senior Cameron Jordan at End, senior Derrick Hill at NT, and junior Ernest Owusu at DE. The second unit featured freshman Deandre Coleman and junior Trevor Guyton at end, with sophomore Aaron Tipoti at NT. Sophomore Kendrick Payne was mixed in with both units.
Payne made a couple of great plays, including a six-yard sack of Riley, along with blowing up a designed screen pass to Sofele.
Deandre Coleman made some impressive stops on Shane Vereen. His improvement is becoming very noticeable, as he is also the biggest guy on the line.
Derrick Hill had a nice tackle for loss on Vereen, and recovered a fumble.
The starting linebacking unit consisted of sophomore Chris Little at WLB, junior D.J. Holt and senior Mike Mohamed at MLB, and senior Keith Browner at SLB. Senior Jarred Price found his way onto the field in passing situations.
Price was the star of the day of the linebackers, as he seemingly was in on every tackle. Price managed to make a very nice tackle in the open field to bring down Sofele for a loss, and forced Lagemann to fumble.
Junior Ryan Davis contributed with a sack.
The defensive backs were not at their best today, as they had some breakdowns mentally and in execution.
Senior Chris Conte should have had an interception on a Beau Sweeney pass, but managed to only tip it. Marvin Jones managed to catch the tipped ball and go for a 60-yard touchdown.
However, the defensive backs had some good plays, as well.
Sophomore Marc Anthony and freshman Steve Williams had some excellent pass breakups. Junior C.J. Moncrease had some ferocious hits that caught the crowd's attention. Freshman Vachel Samuels made a few nice open field tackles and looks to get playing time this year.
Junior Giorgio Tavecchio had a stellar day kicking the ball, as he hit all kickoffs inside the 10-yard line in the zone that special teams coach Jeff Genyk typically looks for. Tavecchio also converted all his PAT's, a 43-yard field goal, and a 20-yard field goal. Tavecchio was perfect in the post-practice field goals, going 5-for-5 with the team in his face making noise.
Sophomore Vince D'Amato was decent, but not as stellar as Tavecchio. D'Amato made all his PAT's, but missed a 41-yard attempt, along with a 37-yard attempt in post-practice.
The punters had it rough as a whole.
Junior Bryan Anger shanked a few punts and could not get the hang time that he hopes to normally provide. Anger had punts of 22, 27, 40, and 36 yards. Junior David Seawright had punts of 44 yards and 23 yards.
In addition to that, Anger's 40-yard punt was returned 80 yards by Jeremy Ross for a Touchdown, while Seawright's 44-yard punt was returned 87 yards by Isi Sofele for a touchdown that was negated by a block in the back penalty.
Jeff Tedford Quotes
On today's practice and the quarterbacks:
"I thought there was some good things. I thought we looked a little bit sharper. We did have a few turnovers, a few fumbled snaps in the red zone. But I thought [the quarterbacks] moved the ball well. Some guys made some plays. It was very physical... some good hitting. We got a chance to see some of the younger backs, which was the goal today. Shane [Vereen] did not play much. [Mike Mohamed] did not play much. [Marvin Jones] did not play much. We used a lot of combinations up front, and we got a couple of tight ends out early in practice, so we had to go with our three's."
On the young running backs:
"I thought they took a step forward today. There is still a lot of improvement there with them. Hitting holes, getting their pads down... I felt on the goal line, Desarte [Yarnway] is a big back who should be able to pound things in there. I thought he held the ball a little high today, so that was a great learning experience for him. Isi [Sofele] has been playing with a hip pointer... hip pointers are very, very painful. So it was nice for me to see him kind of step out a little bit, today with a couple of runs."
On the offensive line and them improving:
"I think they definitely have. There's no question. They weren't perfect by any means, today. There's a lot of combinations being thrown together. There are a lot of guys playing different positions. For the most part I really think they have come a long way from [earlier in practice]. Charles Siddoway, right tackle, he's really made a lot of improvement over the spring. I think he'll be a contributor for us next year. [Justin Cheadle] has come a long way, and Donovan Edwards has pretty much played every position on the line so far. He takes a ton of reps, plays tackle, guard, and center. It gives us flexibility there."
On the defense:
"I think the defense has been really good. We are still in the installation phase with the defense. So, they are still learning and when you multiply that by how many formations that we are seeing, there are some busts mentally. But that is what Spring's all about. But I agree with you. The players are excited about the aggressiveness of the defense."
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