Friday, August 3-Practice Report

The Bearcats officially began the 2007 season as they took the Nippert Stadium Field Turf this afternoon for a two hour practice. It couldn't have been much hotter as temperatures were in the 90's throughout practice. As is our custom, Bearcat Insider was present and has the following practice report.

Most of the media showed up for the Bearcats' first practice, and many stayed around to get interviews after practice.  I was told that three of the major television stations were present, but I doubt they saw everything that we saw. 


-The Bearcats practiced in helmets but no other pads as mandated by the NCAA.


-Donnell McKenzie (DE) was not present and will no longer be a part of the Bearcat football program.  Enough said.


-Reggie Fugett (TE) has decided to transfer from the University of Cincinnati.  The old Cincinnati staff did not have much luck when signing players late or taking those with academic problems.  McKenzie and Fugett, who both signed well after signing day, join several other players that have left the program for one reason or another-Curtis Young, Derrick Stewart, Lance Jeter and Freddie Lenix.


-One of the surprise additions to today's practice was walk-on Calvin Dixon of Colerain High School.  The 5' 10"/197 pound Dixon is working with the linebackers after playing defensive line last year for the Cardinals.  Dixon is tied with Tyler Moeller (presently at Ohio State) with a Cardinal record of 27 tackles for loss in a season.  The 1-st team all-state performer made numerous big plays for the Cardinals in 2006.


-Armon Binns got some emphatic praise from Coach Kelly in the 7 on 7 drill today after making a nice catch on an out route.


-Kevin Huber (P) and Jake Rogers (PK) confirmed that both were awarded scholarships after strong performances in the spring.  Huber was blasting punts today with an occasion shank.  If he can get a bit more consistent, Kevin is capable of kicking after college.


-During one water break, freshman wideout Adrien Robinson muttered, "This is a slap of reality of college football."  The 6' 5" Robinson with his long gait really eats up the turf when he runs. 


-Mike Daniels has changed his jersey number from #3 to #5.  He said it was because he wanted a fresh beginning.


-Strength and condition coach, Paul Longo, was really proud of his guys this summer, and they collectively looked very good.  One of the points that Coach Longo made was that all his guys were on the field practicing.  There were no injuries this summer keeping anyone out of practice.


-Of course the quarterback situation will be watched closely and everyone involved in it will tire of answering questions, but here was the rotation today in the 7 on 7 drill.  Dustin Grutza worked with the #1 group.  Craig Carey then worked with the #2 group, and Ben Mauk came in to work with the #1 group.  The only interception I saw was Jason Whitehead picking off Tony Pike.


-In most cases, positions stayed true to the spring depth chart, but there were a couple changes.  One change was Anthony Williams moving from linebacker to safety.  Fans may remember that Williams, as a redshirt sophomore in 2004, started at linebacker and was second on the team in tackles with 66.  He originally came to the Bearcats as a strong safety.  The other switch was junior Torry Cornett moving from middle linebacker to defensive end.  Torry is now weighing about 245 pounds.  We spoke with defensive coordinator Joe Tresey about these changes and will have his comments in that story.


-Walk-on Jason Kelce was moved to the offensive line last spring, but it looks like the staff has decided the position change from linebacker to the offensive front will be tough enough without his worrying about snapping the ball.  Kelce got some reps at both right and left guard, but Ken Rodriquez and Trevor Canfield ran predominantly with the first group at those positions.  Senior Chris Flores and junior Chris Jurek look like they'll be fighting for the starting center job.  Jeff Linkenbach and Digger Bujnock are certainly the favorites to start at the tackles, but veterans Khalil El-Amin and Jeremy Bolton could push for playing time too.  True freshman Frank Becker took some reps at center, but the reason I noticed Becker was because of a bad snap.  It'll take Frank some time to get comfortable there.


-All the freshmen that were supposed to report were on the practice field today.  The Bearcats had the maximum allowed by the NCAA with 105 players.


-Kazeem Alli (TE) is coming off knee surgery but was practicing today.  He said he expects to be ready by the first game, but that may be wishful thinking after that kind of operation.


-Doug Jones (TE) made two nice catches along the hash marks for good gains in the 7 on 7 drill.  


-Many of the players headed for the rather large baby pool after practice to take a good cool soak.  I actually thought about jumping in myself.  It was hot, hot, hot.


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