As expected, there was quite a bit of cross-training on the offensive line. I saw multiple guys playing multiple positions. Mitch Hyatt and Jake Fruhmorgen looked very good to me. Sure, they still have a lot to learn, but they didn't look like true freshmen. I'm sure some of that has to do with the fact they've been on campus since January, but it's also because they are big and good. Dabo said he was impressed with the progress Fruhmorgen has made since he hurt his shoulder.
He is truly amazing to watch. To watch him today, it's almost inconceivable that he was ever injured or that this was the first practice of camp. He looked as smooth as could be--throwing perfect spirals all afternoon and putting the ball right on receivers' hands. He looks so effortless while he does it, too. Almost like he's in slow motion. The scary thing is, he didn't even get to showcase his running skills today. As a passer, he is in perfect form already. He was wearing the leg brace, of course, but it doesn't seem to affect him. I asked him if it felt uncomfortable or impeded his agility in any way, and he said no. He said it was just a precautionary measure and that it didn't hinder him in any way. I also asked him if there was any time frame for discarding it, and he said he was just going to play it by ear. Clearly, it didn't affect his passing, and he ran pretty well against South Carolina.
The Wide Receivers
Williams and Scott have not missed a beat. They look ready for September. Inconsistency has been Hopper's hobgoblin for the last couple years, and it reared its ugly head again a couple times today on dropped balls. He was also sometimes catching the ball with his body rather than his hands. Granted, it was only the first practice. And don't get me wrong--Hopper looked very good on several other plays. He made a nice catch on a deep route pass from DW, for example. That's what's been so frustrating about G-Hop. He has great speed and makes great plays from time to time--like the TD catch against Oklahoma--but he drops so many easy ones. Hopefully by the end of camp, the dropitis will be gone.
One player that really caught my attention today was Trevion Thompson. He has great size for a WR, and he showed some impressive hands. He had one outstanding diving catch for about 20 yards in tight coverage--may have even been pass interference. Despite the numerous weapons we have at WR, based on what I saw today I think Trevion is going to get some significant playing time, which will give Mike Williams some rest. By the way, Trevion was sporting orange hair today.
Deon Cain & McCloud
These guys look as good as advertised. They will both see the field this season. I was particularly impressed with Ray-Ray. I thought his inexperience at WR would be evident, but he looked very smooth on his routes and has great hands. He was fielding punts at the beginning of practice and looked totally natural in so doing. Cain didn't look like a freshman either. I can't wait to see these guys once they've been around more than a month! R
The Tight Ends
Both Leggett and Seckinger looked great. They both caught the ball very well. Seckinger was wearing a brace on his leg. I really hope these guys can stay healthy all year--it will make a huge difference for our offense.
Zac looked 100% recovered. No visible signs of the injury or that he was favoring anything. Time will tell if he has his timing, instincts, etc. back, but he looked good. R
You could see his potential. He has great size and quickness. Just needs to refine his passing game and throw a better ball. He was low on several occasions and spiral wasn't very tight. Lots of upside with him, though.
He was a little off today--throwing behind the WR's on several occasions. I would chalk it up to first practice rust, although Deshaun looked to be in November form. Hopefully, Shuessler will have a better day tomorrow. He did have a pretty deep pass to the outside shoulder of Germone Hopper that would have gone for a TD, so maybe it just took him a while to warm up.
He was on the WRs like a blanket. Hunter Renfrow went up against him on a passing drill, and Israel didn't even throw the ball because the coverage was so tight. He just stood there and kind of shrugged his shoulders.
More observations from day one
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