There have been no more consistent performers through the first couple days of full gear workouts than Randy Hand and Mike Degory. Both of these guys have flat dominated the competition, any competition along the defensive front. Today, I witnessed Hand getting several solid blocks on Jeremy Mincey. Hand is not about to take any crap off of the D-linemen either. During one play this morning, Hand worked down the line on a running play that was going the opposite way. He blocked Ray McDonald and the two briefly exchanged a moment of pleasantries, which ended with Hand shoving McDonald backward after the play and returning to the huddle.
Degory landed several key blocks as well. He opened a big hole for C-4 up the middle as he got under McDonald and turned him to the right side, totally eliminating him from the play. C-4 was able to run by for positive yardage.
These guys also hustle. You won't see Hand or Degory dogging it after taking out the first assignment. They make a solid effort to get downfield and take a shot at somebody else, and it's evident they enjoy it.
Quarterback Gavin Dickey again worked out fielding punts. In what was his finest play of the day, Dickey ran forward and fielded a shallow kick on the run, hauling the ball in with one hand and continued sprinting forward. Dickey has been erratic throwing the ball thus far the first week. Unless his performance improves, I don't see him as the backup. Seemingly, one of his problems is timing. Dickey is holding the ball too long, as well. I noted plays where the receiver was open at the break, but Dickey missed him and threw the ball late, to Chad Jackson, Reggie Lewis, Dallas Baker, and to one of the tight ends. Another play saw Dickey in the pocket, well-protected, and looking downfield for an open receiver. Coach Fedora felt it was too long and whistled the play dead.
At times, he bounces the ball short of the receiver. At other times, he ends up scrambling out and taking off with the ball. Obviously, this is the first week and we've seen guy's turn it up throughout the month of August as they head toward the first week in September, but Dickey is just not looking very solid thus far.
Freshman All-American Eric Wilbur has been launching a few the past couple of days in particularly. He nailed a 70 yard punt in the air yesterday, and hit a couple of nice punts today that sent return men backwards. He hadn't seen him shank one to the sidelines thus far.
Some of guys up front covering punts were Chad Jackson, Earl Everett, Dane Guthrie, Billy Latsko, Casey Griffith, Eric Rutledge, DeShawn Wynn, and Darrell Carpenter. Channing Crowder was the up man, and of course Wilbur was hit them well.
Blocking by the receivers
One of the things that has been impressive is the blocking by the receivers downfield. Some of the players that have caught my attention are O.J. Small, Jemalle Cornelius, Darrell Carpenter, and Chad Jackson. Today, Carpenter pancaked Tre McCollum as he was zeroing in Cornelius after a short pitch and catch. The most impressive was Small's backside pursuit block on Mincey as the D-lineman went after C-4. Small really got after Mincey, prohibiting him from getting anywhere near the back.
Play of the Day
The play of the day was made by true freshman Kyle Jackson. He broke up a Dickey pass that was under thrown to Reggie Lewis. Out of nowhere Jackson comes flying into the picture and makes a diving catch for the INT. Jackson's efforts drew the applause of both the spectators and defensive players
Baker has looked pretty good since the past two days in pads. In fact, he almost had a highlight film staple today. As Baker sprinted down the right sideline, he reached back and tipped a pass forward that Leak had thrown behind him. Baker tipped the ball again as he continued forward. He seemingly tried to roll and fall on his back, but couldn't defy gravity, falling on his stomach as the ball finally fell down on his back.
He was able to haul in a Dickey pass where he had to out-jump cornerback Dee Webb. And finally, Baker exploded by a defensive back to distance himself for a pass from Leak.
Comments from Coach Zook
Zook was asked about the family of Justin Midgett, who live in Punta Gorda. Zook said that Midgett spoke with his family yesterday as the storm rolled into Charlotte County. "They (Midgett's family) were calling him because electricity was, power was out, so they were calling him to kinda find out what was going on with the weather. And they had, I guess, an addition to their house that wasn't quite done and the siding was all blown off and the roof was blown off, and it was messed up pretty good. Evidentially they stayed there at the house. I don't know that for a fact, but he was kind of stepping in and out of meetings while it was going on. No one in his family (got hurt)"
"Zeph (Zephrin Augustine) is from Lake Placid. He hadn't talked to anybody down there yet, when I talked to him this morning. Jemalle Cornelius, it went over Lake Meade, and he didn't say anything. He was talking to his dad last night"