On the first play of pass-skel, OJ Small splits the safeties right up the middle of the field and Chris Leak hit him on about a 40 yard pass that would have gone the distance. A couple pf plays later, Small quizzed Vernell Brown as to whether he was spying on the play calls. He started laughing.
Te next play had excellent coverage on every receiver as Leak rolled out. He had to throw the ball away on the play.
Jemalle Cornelius continues to be the steadiest receiver out there. His first catch in Pass-skel was a sweet grab of an 18 yard out route. Reynaldo Hill was in coverage but faded at the end and it allowed Cornelius to catch it. Coach Zook made sure that "Naldo" knew he saw it. Naldo came back and made an excellent play later on OJ Small. Small got a jump but Naldo caught up and deflected the touchdown away.
Justin Midgett's arm was feeling better today and they lit him throw with the second team today. He looked sharp for the most part, but threw behind on his first pass, Reggie Lewis reached back for the ball and pulled it in.
Tate Casey has some wheels and with the injuries at the tight end position adding up, he is getting a lot of looks on the field. He tried to stretch with his huge wingspan to pull in a Midgett bullet, but the ball got there a little too fast.
Bubba Caldwell was catching the ball much better today. He had a few drops yesterday, but I only saw one from Bubba at today's practice and that one was a tough catch with the sun in his eyes.
With the injury to DeShawn Wynn, Markus Manson is getting reps with the first team on some occasions. Today the tailback rotation consisted of Ciatrick Fason, Markus Manson, and walk on DaJuan Lawrence.
Reggie has had more passes thrown to him since the scrimmage where he only caught one. He has looked good, before leaving a little early from the heat.
Dawayne Grace is starting to really come on today. Coach Zook talked highly of him yesterday and he had an interception in Pass-skel of a Midgett corner pass.
Chad Jackson has been solid.
Channing Crowder left in the middle of practice to go to court and plead no contest to the judge downtown at a pre-trial conference. He'll end up doing community service. In his absence, Javier Estopinan jumped in there to man the middle linebacker spot on the first team. With McCullough and Richard Brown out of the lineup, the linebacking corps is pretty thin.
Dallas Baker fought Dee Webb for a tough pass over the middle. Leak laid it up there and Dallas went after it strong to come down with the red zone touchdown pass. Baker and Caldwell split time with the first team today, when they went to a four wide receiver set, both were on the field.
David Kenner caught a short touchdown grab on a quick slant route. There haven't been too many highlights for "DK" so far so I thought I would throw that one in.
Steven Rissler was back out there at starting right guard by the time the team drills rolled around. Mo Mitchell looked like he was ok, but maybe a little heated up today and must have sat out the end of practice. Anthony Guerrero is still manning the left tackle spot on the starting unit as Jonathan Colon and Tavares Washington are mending., As we said yesterday, Guererro can play almost anywhere on the line and will know his assignments better than the rookie Watkins on the 3rd team.
Terrance Holmes picked off an overthrown post pattern to Dallas Baker. He had an excellent angle to the ball and corralled it just before he went out of bounds.
Kenneth Tookes saw a little more action with the first team today. I didn't notice if this was due to Reggie Lewis leaving early, but we mentioned yesterday that he got some time with the first unit.
In the play of the day, Dallas used his height advantage over Vernell Brown and scored on a red zone post pattern. Vernell played him aggressively all the way to the spot of the reception. Dallas was just too much and made the grab. We really need that from both of those guys.
2 Minute Drill
1st offense vs 2nd defense
1:13 left on the clock, the score is 14-10, the offense has to score a touch down.
The ball is spotted at the opposite 36 yard line.
Dallas for a 4 yards and out of bounds to the 40
Dallas on another out route to the 50 for 10 yards, clock stopped out of bounds.
OJ Small for 11 yards another out route, clock stopped with :59 left
Flare pass to C-4 for 5 yards to the 34, out of bounds , stop the clock
Bubba for 9 yards to the 25, out of bounds, stop the clock with :50 left
Bubba again for 5 to the 20, out of bounds again
Bubba again to the 15 yard line, clock stops with :29 seconds left
The first incomplete pass was a well covered fade to Dallas Baker, Tony Joiner on the coverage.
2-10 at 15 yd line, Leak sacked for a 7 yard loss. Time out.
During the timeout Tony Joiner is the vocal leader for the defense screaming, "Let's Go, Let's Go!!"
3-17 at the 22, Bubba gets 17 yards and a first down to the 5 yard line on a pass over the middle of the field. Timeout.
:14 seconds left, 1-5 on the 5, a very nicely planned roll out and delayed pass to C-4 for the touchdown. There was not a defender on that side of the field.
1st defense vs 2nd offense
:50 seconds left, 14-13 is the score, the ball placed 47 yards from the end zone.
Justin Midgett drops back and fires a strike to Mike McIntosh who was screaming down the left side on a go route. The safeties on the 1st team didn't get over to cover that gap in the coverage and McIntosh went the distance on one play. Touchdown.
Reggie Lewis and Caldwell are first returners, Cornelius and Mike McIntosh are the second returners.
Brian Crum made the tackle on both kickoff returns
There are certainly some clues that are given off about which true freshmen will play or not, even this early in practice. Tate Casey, Tony Joiner, Brandon Siler, Dawayne Grace, and Eric Rutledge all played a lot with the first special teams units.
It has been miserably hot the last two days. A few players have had to cool off and quit practicing because of it and the team as a whole has been drained. With that happening, the coaches have to continuously harp on them to play hard. Of course they can step away for water or liquids any time they need it, but as the day goes on, they have to push them some.