Turn Up The Heat & Break Down The Frosh

While things were calm on Tuesday at Camp Higher Ground, someone decided to turn up the heat as Camp entered its second full day. We look at practice and take our first look at some of the new members of the Bearcats football team.

The morning session of the University of Cincinnati's preseason camp at West Harrison, Indiana's Camp Higher Ground Conference Center and Retreat was closed to the public and media. But the afternoon session was open and players, coaches and members of the media felt the heat at its full force.

While most of the afternoon was spent going against air, work was quick and not as much movement in terms of positions.

In the past Bearcat teams might have used this day for heavy hitting and using the heat as a conditioning factor toward the start of the season. But Brian Kelly brings a different approach to his teams and days like there stay on the course he's planned out.

That doesn't mean there was no yelling as Kelly runs a tight ship and when one of the teams managers was late with the period ending horn the Bearcats head coach made fast in making sure it didn't happen again.

Even with the heat players and coaches worked at a fast pace making sure every small detail of a play was done right. One reason for the success of Brian Kelly teams is this attention to detail. Players must make the right cuts if running a pattern and defenders better know where they are to be or the wrath of their position coaches will come down upon them.

Several players made nice plays during the day with one of the best coming from D.J. Woods as he went up to the balls highest point and came down between a couple of defenders with a great catch.

The sluggishness shown by Jacob Ramsey on Monday was replaced with a much sharper practice by the senior running back.

Jordan Stepp is now out of his foot boot but still working on the sidelines with the strength staff. He was joined by Isaiah Pead and after watching both players go through their workout it seemed both would have much preferred to be going through regular practice as it seemed less intense.

After practice Coach Kelly was excited about the future of the Big East in Bowl games as the conference announced their alignment with a new bowl. Kelly stressed to look for more news on the Big East bowl front coming soon.

Today's afternoon practice was attended by a scout for the Seahawks who told Bearcat Insider there is a lot of talent on the field the NFL is looking at in Cincinnati. Mardy Gilyard and Tony Pike look to be two players eyes are on along with Vidal Hazelton the transfer out of USC.

We've been asked about some of the new players on the roster and what our thoughts are on each of them. Since I really didn't feel there was a lot of news out of today's practice I'll give you a look at a couple of the new Bearcats.

As some have heard there are a few missing players who signed with the Bearcats on signing day.

As of now Angel Clybourn the linebacker out of New Jersey has returned home. Clybourn, who had an injury in high school did report but looks to have still been suffering from the previous injury and didn't feel he was in a position to compete at such a high level.

Demarkus Bracy is believed to be tied up with the NCAA with a chance of still being cleared this fall or taking a grey-shirt for the winter. It looks like the same news for former Elder wide receiver Josh Jones and Monte Taylor. No official word has come down from the university and coaches have not given any hints as to if they feel the three have a future with the team this fall.

Now for players who are on the field.

Sean Hooey: Make no mistake it's hard to miss big Sean when he's on the field. At 6-foot-8, 296-pounds and growing, Hooey is more advanced at this stage than anyone felt he would be. Sean suffered an injury in a playoff game during his senior season and with the injury still healing was willing to delay his entry at UC in the fall of 2008 and waited until the winter of 2009 and took part in spring ball.

Since the spring Sean has continued to work hard with Coach Longo and picked up more strength and weight. While there is still work needed with his technique, Sean Hooey looks more like a player who will play some serious minutes in the future and a lot less of a project. Needs to continue to work on his strength and should have no problem playing in the 320-330-pound range with his frame.

Vidal Hazelton: As many know now Hazelton is a star who must sit out this fall after his transfer from USC. If Hazelton stays healthy he'll be a player NFL teams will be looking to draft after the 2010 season. He's got a big body and is very smooth in his route running and pass catching ability. This is one of the best wide receivers I've had the chance to watch and Bearcat fans will love what they see next season.

Jamar Howard: The former Bearcat left the program after the NCAA informed the program he wasn't able to compete just prior to the season opener in 2006. Howard was a skinny wide receiver who was more of a basketball player with growing football skills. Now he's a football player with great physical size and very good skills as a wide receiver. Better route running is something he's working hard on in camp and there is not a doubt Jamar Howard will be getting playing time this fall.

Reuben Johnson: What a steal Johnson may be when all is said and done. While he's still working on getting a grasp of the Bearcats defense, Reuben Johnson has great football skills and will have a chance to push for playing time this fall. Great speed as well as very good foot and hip skills make him a player with a very bright future. Johnson is also working with the punt return team as a return specialist.

Andre' Cureton: The big offensive lineman is listed at 280-pounds in the media guide but many have said he's closer to 350-pounds on the scale. What makes this even more surprising is that Cureton is showing great athletic ability. What ever his real weight is Cureton will have a chance to be a player down the road as he's got the physical frame and ability if he continues to put in the work with Coach Longo and Coach Quinn.

There are five of the new players and we'll continue to look at each one in the coming days of camp.


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