Saturday, March 31-Practice #4

The Bearcats were again in full gear, and there was plenty of hitting this afternoon in Nippert Stadium. As usual, Bearcat Insider was on hand to take in much of the action.

Practice started about and hour earlier than the scheduled time of 2-4 so I missed the first hour or so. Still it was an eventful day.

-When I arrived at practice, the hitting was already in full swing since practice started sooner than the scheduled time. The drill was similar to a double hamburger drill. The quarterback handed off to the running back who had to get past the line of scrimmage which consisted of an offensive lineman/tight end blocking a defensive lineman/linebacker. If the running back got past the first defender, he then had to get by a wide receiver blocking a defensive back. Some of the match-ups were good; others were mismatches. One of the better match-ups between midsized players was Marcus Waugh against Andre Revels. On that particular dual, Revels managed to make the play. Terrill Byrd was tough to block for everyone, and even Kerry Coombs went down on one play.

-David Wess continued his nomadic ways at UC. Wess shed the red quarterback jersey today and worked out with the running backs.

-I did a long interview with new strength coach, Paul Longo, for a story later in the weekend or Monday. When asked who has impressed him in the weight room, Longo took a long time to answer. He said that he hadn't been at UC long enough for anyone to really impress him and that he was a tough guy to impress. He's interested in seeing who "brings it" every day and said to check back with him in a few months.

-New rule in practice-no player can go to a knee in practice on the sideline. Earnest Jackson tried once, but Coach Longo immediately reprimanded him, and Jackson jumped back to his feet.

-Coach Longo was a college teammate at Wayne State with Bearcat defensive line coach Keith Gilmore. Longo also signed as a free agent running back with the Pittsburgh Steelers before finding his career path as a strength and conditioning coach.

-Jake Rogers got the chance to show off his leg today in practice with kickoffs. Despite kicking off from the 30-yard-line and being told to hold back so the return team could return kicks, Jake managed to consistently put his kicks from the 5-yard-line to the goal line.

-The defense is really preaching the idea of rerouting receivers. This can throw off the timing between the quarterback and his wide-outs. So far the new defense has done extremely well against the passing game.

-Ben Guidugli (TE) had his best day of practice in my opinion. He made some nice catches. One that really stood out in my mind was on a ball that was thrown before he finished his break. As soon as his head turned, the ball was on him, but he reached out with one hand and brought it in.

-With Doug Jones and Connor Barwin already sitting out practice, Kazeem Alli was added to the tight end injured reserve list halfway through practice. That meant Marcus Waugh had to work with the tight ends for the remainder of practice. He did a nice job too.

-One of the biggest plays in the 7 on 7 drill was a long hook-up from Tony Pike to Antwuan Giddens.

-Although Aaron Webster (S) is being help out of most drills, he's actually moving very well.

-Chazz Anderson (QB) and Drey Frey (Ath.) attended today's practice. We have an interview with both. Drew got the impression today that he may begin his Bearcat career as a safety since Kerry Coombs was talking to him about the position. He said he doesn't care where he plays, but I know Drew feels more comfortable on the offensive side of the ball. I think he'll end up at receiver before his career is over.

-Delbert Ferguson was getting reps at OLB. I had seen him playing more in the middle until today.

-Jacob Ramsey is starting to show what we saw from him last year as a running back.

-Domonick Britt (QB) and Ike Washington (DT) from Trotwood-Madison High School attended today's practice along with their head coach Maurice Douglas and offensive coordinator, Jeremy Beckham. Beckham played at UC. Also, running back Mike Shaw who recently transferred from Archbishop Alter to Trotwood received a scholarship offer from the Bearcats today. Bearcat Insider featured Michael in a story back on February 28.

-One of the bigger hits in today's scrimmage was after Dustin Grutza connected with Dominick Goodman for a nice gain. Safety Cedric Tolbert really laid the leather to Goodie as he knocked him out of bounds, but Dominick held on to the football.

-Digger Bujnoch remains at center and is still mastering the snap. Once he snapped the ball to the running back while in the shotgun. It didn't appear to be a trick play because Grutza was reaching for the ball.

-We told you about walk-on long snapper, Alex Apyan (6' 2"/190 pounds), earlier this week. Alex attended today's practice with his mother and father. His dad played a year on the freshmen team at Miami when schools were permitted to have freshmen squads. Alex narrowed his choices to S. Mississippi and Cincinnati before deciding to walk-on at UC.

-As we told everyone on Sunday night, Ben Mauk was at practice today with his entire family. Ben's quotes in last week's Enquirer story got the attention of some Bearcat players who mentioned today that they hope he can back them up on the field.

-The El-Amins were out in full force today. Khalil, his younger brother Kashif and their father Hassan stopped to pose for a Bearcat Insider picture. Hassan said he'd love to have both boys at the same school next year. Kashif is a standout defensive back at Purcell-Marian High School.

-Haruki Nakamura was told by one of his high school coaches at St. Ed's in Cleveland that he wasn't good enough to play Division IA football. That might be the coach with the egg on his face. No one is sure how captains will be chosen for next season, but if Nakamura isn't named one of them, the beer is on me at the first tailgate party.

-Craig Carey looks to be the #2 quarterback.

Practice resumes on Tuesday, but Bearcat Insider will have plenty of new spring football information between now and then.

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