Special teams get work in spring practice

In the Bearcats latest spring practice on Tuesday, the team got things started with a little special teams practice. They worked on punting, in which it looks as though they will use the spread punt formation.

In the Bearcats latest spring practice on Tuesday, the team got things started with a little special teams practice. They worked on punting, in which it looks as though they will use the spread punt formation. They used both the rugby-style punt and traditional way of punting. Not sure yet if they will use both during the season or if they were doing that in order to give the return team both looks.

Most of the spring the team has had D.J. Woods, Vidal Hazelton, Marcus Barnett and Kenbrell Thompkins catching most of the punts in practice.

The Bearcats also worked on kickoff returns and setting up the wedge on Tuesday. They worked on one return where a blocker, usually Orion Woodard, would scrape across in front of the wedge and create a sort of crack-back block on the defense.

The defensive backs and wide receivers locked up in some one-on-one coverage drills and the defensive backs had a pretty good showing.

In one instance Bruce Horner jumped in front of Thompkins to knock the ball away. Dominique Battle also had a nice play covering Thompkins, staying in good position to tip the ball.

Later in the drill, Hazelton gets behind Reuben Johnson for a touchdown pass. After the play Kerry Coombs lit into Johnson looking to motivate the cornerback. The tactic worked as the two were matched up again at the end of the drill, this time Johnson getting the better of the USC transfer.

Coombs continued to ride Johnson, making him do 10 pushups during the 11-on-11 drill after being in good position for the interception, but attempting to use only one hand to make the pick. The motivation worked again as Johnson then came back to knock a pass away from Hazelton on a two-point conversion attempt.

After another competition day on Saturday, the first team offensive line looks to be Sam Griffin at left tackle, Jason Kelce at left guard, Evan Davis at center, T.J. Franklin at right guard and Alex Hoffman at right tackle. That's a group that totaled 38 starts last season.

Cornerback Reuben Haley had a good showing in the 11-on-11 drill. On back-to-back plays the junior batted a ball away from Thompkins, and then stepped in front of Hazelton to intercept Zack Collaros.


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