-I didn't think practice was as strenuous for the players this morning.
-In evaluating recruits, some fans like to know what other schools are recruiting them. In speaking with Tahree McQueen this morning, I was told several schools entered his recruitment very late. Before the Bearcats offered McQueen, he held scholarship offers from only Division IAA (FCS) Maine and Stony Brook, but after the Bearcats offered, Tahree picked up an offer from UConn. Syracuse then came in with an offer the day prior to signing day, and Rutgers told the New Jersey kid that if any of their commitments failed to sign, he'd have a Scarlet Knight offer.
-Joey Homan is a regular at practice as he anxiously waits to find out when he can join the team. The Chaminade-Julienne linebacker said he'll probably play fullback on the scout team once he's allowed to suit up. Joey's a fine young man, and it'll be nice to see him in a Bearcat uniform. He'll join the team no later than September 19-the day classes start.
-The guys getting a chance to return kicks today were DeAngelo Smith, Jacob Ramsey, Marty Gilyard, Dominick Goodman, Marcus Barnett and Greg Moore, but there were some other candidates not practicing today (Haruki Nakamura and Mike Daniels). Haruki should return for Saturday's scrimmage, and Mike was held out due to a little soreness.
-I thought the highlight of the 7-on-7 drill was a Grutza completion to Giddens down the sideline for 35 yards, and Antwuan would have taken it to the endzone.
-One of the changes under Coach Kelly's watch is the kickers/snappers don't spend the entire practice standing on the sideline. They go to the weightroom/lockerroom and return when needed. They like it much better because they say they can stay loose.
-Tony Pike seemed to be the first option at quarterback, and he got a lot of reps again today.
-Usually I stay away from reporting on injuries, but once they're mentioned elsewhere, I don't figure I can get into any trouble. Jared Martin was shaken up a couple days ago but expects to return to practice on Monday.
-Jason Kelce was the first option at center although Chris Jurek also worked with the #1 group. Chris Flores got some reps with the #1 group at left guard. It was the first time I saw anyone other than Ken Rodriguez at that spot. The three main candidates at center (Kelce, Jurek and Flores) all did some punishment running/exercise after practice for committing mental errors today. Still, the mistakes at that spot are far down from this time last year and even last spring.
-There were a number of near fights in today's scrimmage. Tomorrow's scrimmage could be very interesting.
-Still no word on Caleb Lipsey's appeal at Murray State, but if Lipsey's situation isn't resolved by Monday, his spot may be taken by someone else on the walk-on waiting list.
Here's the way things went in the practice ending scrimmage.
• Tony Pike was at QB. Benton run +6. Pike to Giddens +15. Pike to Goodman +5. Glatthaar run wide-no gain. Pike throws ball away. Moore run +10.
• Carey at QB. Ramsey run +1 (Revels/Nelms tackle). Carey to Jones +6. Carpenter sack Carey although defenders had to tag off on QB. Goebel breaks 35 yard run.
• Grutza at QB. Benton no gain (Byrd). Grutza incomplete (Mickens bats ball away). Glatthaar TFL (Byrd and Carpenter). Grutza run +3.
• Carey returns to QB. Ramsey gets 10 tough yards. Carey sacked by Newton.
• Mauk at QB. Mauk keeper +5. Mauk +5 pass to Jones (Ferguson coverage)
• Collaros at QB. Patterson +5 (Clifford). Waugh sacks Collaros.
Here's our "no huddle" interview with Coach Hinton where the questions come fast and the answers ever faster. Coach talked about each of his guys and then answered a few questions.
Ryan Manalac-"He's a very intelligent player. He's injured a little bit with a hamstring, but he's fighting through it. He'll be better as the summer goes along."
Leo Morgan-"A very good athlete. He's learning the system and will be a great asset this fall."
Corey Smith-"A tremendous athlete with a great attitude. He's learning how to play a little different backer style. He's got to play downhill and more physical than what he's used to."
Delbert Ferguson-"He's really stepped up and is taking it seriously. He's had a habit of playing two plays hard and one not as hard. He's learning to be more consistent in his approach.
Andre Revels-"He's a very intelligent, articulate player. He's playing downhill, very fast. I'm very pleased with him.
Jon Carpenter-"Great student. Great person. Workaholic. Wants to be a great teammate and great special teams player."
Collin McCafferty-"Had a good fall based on where he came out of the spring. Young guy who's playing downhill. There a chance on special teams or if we need depth that he could see it (playing field)."
Obadiah Cheatham-"Really had a nice hit today. Really got physical. He's going to be a nice player."
Robby Armstrong-"Got to continue to develop a little bit. He's not a real fast player and time will make him into a better player."
Alex Delisi-"He's a physical, hard player. He's really going to be good. He plays fast and plays hard."
Ricardo Thompson-"Obviously a local guy with a lot of athleticism. Now he needs to understand the mental side of the college game and the speed of the college game. He'll find it. He's just a babe right now."
Calvin Dixon-"That guy is a war daddy. I love that kid. He works hard. He's like a pit bull. He was a nose guard in high school and doesn't have a clue what backers do, but he plays hard."
Coach Hinton went into detail about the competition at MLB. "There's great competition at middle linebacker. No question about it. Manny came into the fall a little ahead of Rev, but Rev has quickly closed that gap. It's going to be a great scrimmage tomorrow, and we're going to make some decisions. I'm trying to create competition for each of the positions. I think that's what makes you better and is a difference between college ball to high school ball. In college you have guys that will take your job. It's a tight race."
Competition is just as tight at the "sam" linebacker with Leo Morgan and Delbert Ferguson. "Delbert's been doing a great job. No doubt about it. Leo missed spring camp because of injury so he's had to go back and reaccelerate his learning. Leo's a great competitor and there's great competition there between those guys."
The "will" linebacker has some depth, but Corey Smith would be tough to unseat. "Carp does a great job, but I think Corey Smith is a little more secure at that position. Coach Kelly always talks about ‘next man in,' and Carp is ready to play with a solid fall. Bottom line is we're gaining some good depth. I think we're pretty good at the two deep, now we're looking for some spares. It's like the old say, ‘Have a pair and a spare with everything you do' especially at our position where it's very physical, and we do a lot of things."
I won't be at the Friday evening practice tonight, but I will be there on Saturday for the scrimmage. If any of you have any ideas or suggestions, hit my Inbox with them.