The team was once again in shells (helmets, shoulder pads and girdle pads) for the morning practice. Guys don't back off too much when they're in this gear, and that was the case today in a few instances.
-The big news was that Doug Jones worked with the offensive line. He got the majority of his reps at left guard with the #2 group. From what I saw, I thought he did pretty well. A number of fans, including me, have been wanting this to happen. I think the fullback position is in great hands with Brad Bury, Marcus Waugh, and Ben Guidugli. I watched the fullbacks for a while in a drive block contest. Waugh was the winner, but it wasn't easy. I think all three of these guys can help this year.
-Derrick Stewart returned to practice today. He participated in about half the drills, but I don't expect him to be out too long.
-DeAngelo Smith was moved from receiver to cornerback and really made a big splash with the #2 group. He had back-to-back interceptions at one point and made a nice play at the goalline in the two minute drill to stop a touchdown. Smith was a safety at this time last year.
-The offensive line worked a number of guys in the #1 group today. Jeremy Bolton went down early with what looked like severe cramping. He looked fine later. Jeff Linkenbach took Bolton's spot at left tackle backed up by Frank Straub. Both got reps with the #1 group. Chris Flores got the majority of snaps at center although Mario Duenas also got some.
-The BIG HIT of the day came during a kickoff drill. John Goebel was on the front line for the receiving team. Coach Staten was yelling to John to block #89 (Connor Barwin). Goebel decleated Barwin as everyone else made sounds of amazement. I'm not sure Barwin saw it coming. A couple kicks later there was a rematch, and Connor went straight at Goebel for another major collision. Goebel surprisingly again got the better of Barwin, but both these guys are tough as nails.
-I saw Andre (Popeye) Revels throw a few guys around like rag dolls in the kickoff drill. Andre also got a few reps with the #1 unit at MLB during the inside drill.
-I think Mike Daniels has done a good job running the ball so far this summer, but he had a fumble today and was sent running the stadium steps.
-There was one sequence during the inside drill where each of the freshmen running backs looked good. Ramsey showed a good burst of speed in his rushing attempt; Goebel showed enough speed to get to the edge and turn the corner; and Armstrong showed some strength and elusiveness in his carry.
-The quarterbacks are all getting equal reps during drills although Dustin Grutza always runs with the first team offense during the two minute drill. They're going to need to settle on two or three guys pretty soon and give those guys more reps.
-Curtis Young again proved to be very difficult to block on a pass protection/pass rush drill.
-We saw our second fight of the summer. Tyler Clifford and Steve Gawronski were both swinging some "haymakers" at each other. It was worthy of a pay-per-view event. Both were sent running the stadium steps.
-Tommy Gelehrter, the newest hire in the athletic department, was telling me about an interview he had last year with Jerry Faust prior to Akron‘s bowl game. Tommy asked Jerry four questions and the interview lasted a whopping 14 minutes. Jerry actually took the microphone from Tommy during the interview and would only put it in front of Tommy when he needed another question to answer.
-The quarterbacks had a bad day in the 7 on 7 drill. There were plenty of interceptions. McCullough picked Wess. DeAngelo Smith picked Pike and then Carey in successive throws. Pike was picked a second time during the team drill by a walk-on who I think is named Hamo. I thought Dustin Grutza threw the ball down the field more again today. Dustin hit Goodman for 20 yards and Jackson for 20 yards.
-A couple of the bigger offensive pass plays were Pike hitting Giddens for a 25 yard gain, and Jamar Howard making a nice leaping catch of a Davila pass for a 12 yard gain.
-In the two minute drill to end practice, the #2 offense with Davila went against the #1 defense. Davila connected with Kazeem Ali for 20 yards and then hit Jamar Howard over the middle for a 33 yard gain and 1st and goal. Howard got half those yards after the catch, but the defense held the offense to a field goal after Carvitti got a sack.
Then the #1 offense with Dustin Grutza went against the #2 defense. Jon Carpenter sacked Grutza, but Grutza got the 1st down on a hook-up with Celek for 20 yards. Grutza then hit Poland for a 1st and goal. Dustin had two balls batted at the line of scrimmage before picking up another 1st and goal on an interference call. Despite the extra 1st down, the #1 offense could not get the ball into the end zone and turned the ball over on downs.