Saturday, August 11-Practice Report

After the cooler weather on Friday, the heat returned to Nippert Stadium today. Bearcat Insider had the entire team at today's scrimmage so there should be plenty of coverage, but as usual, I tried to bring our members more than just coverage from the scrimmage.

First of all, I need to confess that I didn't do my usual job today. Some things occurred that distracted me from the scrimmage, and my report will not be nearly as thorough as usual. But maybe that's a good thing too.

-The biggest news of the day is the fact that Bearcat defensive coordinator, Joe Tresey, is celebrating his 49th birthday. Coach Tresey has quickly become one of our favorites, and a big tip of the Bearcat Insider helmet goes to Coach Tresey.

-Another young man we want to recognize is new assistant strength and conditioning coach, Jake Flint. Jake was a walk-on who eventually earned a scholarship at Central Michigan. Everyone knows I love walk-ons since they're usually very special kids, and that also seems to be case with Jake. Coach Longo says everyone keeps trying to steal Jake from him since Jake is such a tireless worker. We'll talk a lot more to Jake at Higher Ground.

-I always love talking to Coach Longo about anything, but today Coach Longo, Coach Flint and I discussed some weight room numbers. One of the lifts that NFL scouts use is the 225 pound bench press. Adam Hoppel is the Bearcat leader in that category with a phenomenal 36 reps. To give it some perspective, Coach Longo said 25 reps is outstanding, and he's only had a handful of players ever get to 40 or more reps. Eric Ghiaciuc of the Cincinnati Bengals had 32 reps as a player at CMU. Marcus Waugh is a close second on the Bearcat team with 34 reps. Trevor Canfield had 29 reps while Terrill Byrd had 25. The top three vertical leapers were Earnest Jackson, Connor Barwin and Nick DeFilippo. Jackson's best leap was 36.5 inches. Here's some other information fans might find interesting. The average offensive lineman in the program weighs 289 pounds while the average weight of a defensive lineman is 258 pounds. The offensive linemen lost an average of 4% body fat after working with Coach Longo for six months. Finally, the running backs actually saw the biggest changes. The average weight went from 233 pounds down to 218 pounds, and these guys lost an average of 4.5% body fat.

-One player that will apparently be joining the roster at some point is Wesley Richardson, a 6'/190 pound safety from W. Olentangy High School. Wesley said he runs a 4.5 forty.

-Another player joining the roster when school begins is Josh Canafax (WR). Josh played club football at Xavier last year but is anxious to get on the field for the Bearcats this year. Josh was a wide receiver at Newport Central Catholic a couple years ago. Josh went on to say the Bearcats were recruiting him until Dan Enos left the program to go to Michigan State.

-Ike Iloegbu (CB) of Harmony Community School stopped by to see the Bearcat scrimmage. Ike is really biting at the bit to become a Bearcat. He even asked if there was an early signing day for football players. He's hoping to be enrolled at UC early enough to go through spring practice.

-Jason Kelce (C) is up to 280 pounds. We would have liked to interview Jason on Saturday after the scrimmage, but Coach Kelly has determined Kelce is off limits for now. Along with Chris Flores and Chris Jurek, I think the Bearcats will have a solid situation at center and some depth at guard with these guys by the time the season starts. Some of the snaps today were erratic, but Jurek is the only true center in the group, and lining up across from All-Big East defensive tackle, Terrill Byrd, only complicates matters for a young player(s). Incidentally, I reported earlier in the week that Jurek did up/downs after a practice as punishment. I was wrong about that and want to set the record straight. I'm not sure who I mixed with Chris. Getting back to Kelce, he's the type kid you want in your foxhole, and he's going to continue to improve. In fact, I'm going to crawl out on that limb and predict that Kelce will follow in Kevin McCullough's footsteps and be a walk-on that wins All-Big East recognition before his career at Cincinnati is over.

-Marty Gilyard played in the scrimmage and even caught a pass, but the Florida speedster is still nursing a leg injury.

-Jared Martin returned to the field after a mid-week injury and got into an altercation with Brad Jones. Martin was smart and just backed away while Jones picked up the penalty after taking a swing at Martin. Coach Kelly had a talk with Brad after the incident. This staff doesn't want to lose yardage in a game due to a stupid penalty where a Bearcat loses his composure.

-Haruki Nakamura was back on the practice field. I'm going to really hate it when this kid leaves. I'm hoping he'll consider being a grad assistant next year.

-The Bearcats started the scrimmage in the red zone, and they were running personnel on and off the field like a hockey line change.

-As I mentioned, I was distracted from the events on the field for a while and certainly didn't see even close to everything. However, I had Terrill Byrd, Adam Hoppel and Andre Revels all with sacks of Dustin Grutza. I also had Lamonte Nelms and Torry Cornett batting down Grutza passes. But according to UC's stats, Dustin was also 6 for 10 for 40 yards with no interceptions.

-Ben Mauk showed some speed getting out of the pocket, and probably had some good overall numbers. But the 30+ yard completion to Marcus Barnett was underthrown, and Barnett actually made a nice catch on the ball. The 50 yards TD pass to Greg Moore was a shovel pass. I also saw Ben get a ball batted down at the line of scrimmage. I still don't think Ben is 100% healthy, but I can see his being a real force once he is. The question is how much longer can UC wait to name that starter, and if the starter gets 70% of the snaps like Coach Kelly indicated this week, can Ben's arm/shoulder hold up?

-According to the stats on gobearcats.com, Craig Carey had a good afternoon going 9 for 11 and 77 yards, but I just didn't have a lot of notes on him. I do think he has really benefited from having a clean slate with this staff, and he's performing well. One of the biggest positives is there were no interceptions by any of the six quarterbacks.

-Tony Pike's numbers (8-12 for 46 yards) were similar to the others, but Tony did start the scrimmage which would lead one to believe he came into the scrimmage as the leader of the pack. If that's the case, I certainly don't think he lost any ground after today. Pike at 6' 6" and Carey at 6' 5", didn't have any passes batted down at the LOS. I spoke with Tony after practice and will write that story tomorrow.

-In addition to those already mentioned on the defensive side, I noticed Jon Newton making some plays, especially early when they were working in the red zone. I saw Tyler Clifford with a TFL, and a big hit for Obadiah Cheatham on Bradley Glatthaar for no gain.

-Of the three senior running backs, I thought Greg Moore had the best day, but Jacob Ramsey and John Goebel continue to pressure those seniors. Ramsey's 65 yard TD had people buzzing, and Goebel had a good gain blown dead prematurely that could have also ended with him in the endzone.

-I thought Antwuan Giddens and Marcus Barnett stood out among the receivers although Dominick Goodman had to leave the scrimmage early.

-Doug Jones from Pike, Butler Benton and Jacob Ramsey all scored in short yardage situations early in the scrimmage.

-The MLB battle is still too close for me to call, but Revels again showed a good nose for the football, but I also saw Manalac made a big stop by the goalline.

-I saw Jake Rogers go 2 for 3 in field goals. He hit from 27 and 47 yards and looked to barely miss from 57 yards out. I thought he had the distance but it was a little left.

There were apparently 90 plays and I know I didn't see all 90 of them. Sorry.


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