With everyone except Tavares Washington back healthy with the offensive line, the squads were a little more discernable as to who is on what team. It appears as if Steven Rissler has played himself back onto the starting unit right now. He jumped back in there after Mo Mitchell left ill the other day. Big Mo was back out other and running with the second team. Jonathan Colon also returned to his spot as the starting left tackle, but was held out of any of the close contact drills. Anthony Guerrero held the spot down for Colon, and slid back to second team during the walk through portion of practice. On defense the depth chart looked like it remained the same. I saw no significant changes out there.
The team was out in full pads again; this marks two practices in a row and that hasn't happened a whole lot during this pre-season. All the nagging injuries and the heat have been minuses to having the guys dress out in full pads and bang on each other for 2 hours.
To start pass-skel they went with a four wide receiver formation that included Dallas Baker, OJ Small, Bubba Caldwell, and Jemalle Cornelius.
I don't want to go into too many specifics of pass-skel today because to be honest, the defense forced almost all short passes or passes out of bounds. The offense had one complete pass in the first 8 plays and that was a back out of the backfield that wouldn't have gone very far.
Zep Augustine did have the play of the day when he hit OJ Small as the ball arrived. The contact jarred Small enough for him to cough it up and Augustine with his progression still coming forward ran right into the ball falling to the earth. It was a very nice play.
Brandon Siler received a lot of praise from Coach Miler on his pass coverage in a zone defense. He dropped out into the flat and took away Gavin Dickey's last target and Gavin had to turn and fire a pass that was almost intercepted by Jermaine McCullom.
How good was the coverage today? Vernell Brown had coverage on Jemalle Cornelius but slipped right before the ball arrived on a deep corner route. It didn't matter because Terrance Homes was there to bat the ball away.
Justin Midgett was the first quarterback to complete a pass over 10 yards when he hit Kyle Morgan about ten yards deep on a wide open slant pass. Midgett was out there after Leak had two sets and Dickey one. Midgett came back to throw a deep post that was double covered by both safeties and knocked away., It was the longest pass of the first half of pass skel. Coach Zook felt the power of the rifle arm that Midgett has. On a 20+ yard bullet, Midgett hit coach Zook who was standing in the dead center of the field. He had to drop his scripts and shield himself from the ball with his hands.
In the red zone the defense still played strong. They broke up a Leak pass to Cornelius in the middle of the back of the end zone on the first play.
The offense did have a nice drag route that Markell got a hold of and a head of steam so no one seemed to want to get in his way as he turned up field.
Mike McIntosh continues his good preseason and caught a 12 yard out pass from Midgett.
OJ Small worked his magic to score the second TD for the offense in the red zone pass-skel. Jarvis Herring was on the coverage, but let Small go and paid for it.
Gavin Dickey and Vernell Brown are trading off most of the punt return duties.
Markus Manson got two chances at fielding punts. The first he dropped. The second, he received chants of "deuce, deuce" while the ball was in the air, from his teammates in reference to his number 2. He proceeded to drop the second.
Bubba and Dee Webb were the first kick returners today. Brian Crum decided to try and decapitate Dee Webb on the only kick return of the day. Brian has made all of the tackles I have noticed on kick off returns so far.
It was more of the same as the offense continued to have problems finding and delivering the ball to the deep receivers.
Jeremy Mincey read a reverse play very well and ate up Bubba Caldwell deep in the backfield.
Clint McMillan and Kenny Parker lined up as second team defensive tackles in the team drills.
The offense had a nice shovel pass to the fullback Billy Latsko in a two back set that would have gone for a while.
Mike Degory and Leak miscommunicated again on a snap and the fumble became a turnover. It was the second time in 2days and is a rare appearance.
The defense was trying to get in the offense's heads late in practice. An offensive lineman flinches and someone on defense screams out, "They almost jumped that time," in a taunting manner.
Skyler Thornton showing his returning health had a very ice cutback on an inside run play. He would have gone a good distance. Later he ran a toss sweep around the corner untouched, assuring us that he was back to almost full health.
David Kenner had one of the better highlights of the offense, as he caught a 15 yard pass over the middle of the field and went a good ways untouched.
Dallas Baker made the catch of the day in the back of the end zone. He jumped high over Vernell Brown, but according to Coach Zook, his feet came down out of bounds.
Tree Morant came screaming in on Gavin Dickey -- any other quarterback and it would have been a sack, but Dickey manages to elude him and throw the ball away.
Bubba made a tough catch with Reynaldo face guarding. The pass was about 18 yards and in the corner of the end zone.
2 Minute Drill
1st team defense vs 2nd team offense.
The scenario: :57 seconds left, 14-13 is the score, the ball is 49 yards away from the end zone.
The four wide receivers are Jimmy Newmeyer, Kenneth Tookes, Chad Jackson and Mike McIntosh.
1-10: Drag route caught by McIntosh for 11 yards to the middle of the field. Clock running.
1-10 at the 38, Pass catch to Newmeyer for 6 at the 32, in bounds, clock running
2-4 at the 32, Incomplete pass to Chad Jackson,
3-4 at te 32, McIntosh catches a fade for 18 yards, ball spotted at the 14 yard line, clock running
1-10: Gavin spikes the ball to stop the clock
2-10: Dickey loses 2 yards as he lines up the ball in the middle of the field.
3-12: Dickey spikes the ball, stopping the clock
4-12 at the 16: Leach makes a 43 yard field goal.
1st team defense vs. 2nd team offense
The scenario:1:17 left, 14-10 is the score, the ball is at the 39 yard line 61 yards away from a touchdown.
1-10: It possibly could have been a sack as the defensive ends came hard, but Leak completed the ball to Cornelius for 21 yards.
1-10 at the 40: Pass complete to OJ Small In the flat for 6 yards,
2-4 at the 34: Should have been another sack, but Leak completed the pass for 15 yards to OJ Small for 15yards.
1-10 at the 19: The same play the offense threw to the running back over the middle of the field against LSU. The defense was in an all out blitz and DeShawn Wynn was totally uncovered heading to the end zone. Touchdown.
Tony Joiner hasn't had all of the big plays that Kyle Jackson has had in the preseason., Still, he continues to be a rock solid member of the second team defense and the coaches are very happy with his progress. Joiner will play a great deal this year.
A loud cheer went up in the team huddle today as Zepherine Augustine was awarded a football scholarship. The former walk-on is definitely in the mix for the safety rotation. He is also one of the vocal leaders of the defense.
Mike Mangold was at practice but not at pads today. Contrary to what others are saying, he didn't participate in position drills, because the strength and conditioning staff want to make sure he is physically ready to keep up. Mangold did participate in all the summer workouts, but he hasn't been doing conditioning for about 3 weeks.