The offense and defense were on opposite sidelines for the scrimmage…Joe Cohen started out on the third team defensive line today. Derrick Harvey was working on the first team at strong side defensive end. Cohen managed to get some work with the second team later in the scrimmage. Cohen has a hip problem that will require some minor surgery after spring practice. The surgery will only prevent him from working out 5-6 days… Terrance Holmes was working with the second team defense again today. He and Deshawn Carter swapped out a few times…Nick Brooks was getting some work with the second team defense at cornerback today.
THINGS I LIKED: Kyle Jackson got the better of Chad Jackson in the "Circle of Life." It was close, but Chad has done well in the matches that it was good to see Kyle come out on top… All of the backup quarterbacks have some serious running ability… Punter Eric Wilbur launched a rocket that sailed more than 60 yards from the line of scrimmage. Not only was the punt long, it had serious hang time.
THINGS I DIDN'T LIKE: The second team offensive line is way behind the first team. It was to be expected on the first couple of series going against the first team offense, but when they matched up against second team later, it was more of the same. I wasn't the only one disappointed. Coach (John) Hevesy was laying into them good for most of the day… The second unit had a punt blocked again today. Look for pics of the formation they use in the picture gallery.
HIGHLIGHTS: The opening drives had two of the biggest highlights of the day, including the first play of the entire scrimmage. Leak reared back and hit Chad Jackson on a corner route for 27 yards. The throw was perfect but the catch was outstanding, too… The same two ended the drive with a 23-yard connection in the front corner of the end zone for a touchdown. It was the only long drive that resulted in a touchdown all day… Josh Portis was the best ball carrier of the day. The largest "oohs and aahhs" from the crowd came when he continuously ran the ball and showed some serious speed and quickness. Some of these plays will be highlighted in the play by play coming later.
The defensive line held their own today and combined with some blitzing linebackers, there was much more pressure on the quarterbacks… Steven Harris, Jeremy Mincey, Ray McDonald, and Derrick Harvey all had good days, even going against the first team line.
PLAYS OF THE DAY: Bubba Caldwell took a pitch on a reverse (line of scrimmage, 25-yard line) and sold the defense that it was run all the way by faking like he was having a problem with the ball. The entire offensive line pulled in front of him so the defense forgot all about quarterback Chris Leak. Leak slipped out of the backfield on the left side and ran wide open down the sideline. Caldwell lofted a pass high for Leak who cradled it in. He could have walked into the end zone.
Tremaine McCullom had a great jump on a comeback route to Mike McIntosh from Josh Portis. McCullom jumped in front of McIntosh to make the pick, then sped some 50 yards for the score in the opposite direction. Tremaine has been making enough big plays this spring that it figures he will see a lot of playing time in the fall.
PLAYER OF THE DAY: My choice was Steven Harris. I counted him with three sacks, although afterwards, he told me they only gave him two, but should have had three. "I had three, but they didn't call one," Harris said after practice. Harris has been moved inside to defensive tackle and has been a force with his speed and quickness inside.
"It is coming along good and I am getting the plays down," he said. "Ray (McDonald) is making it easy, especially when we do the stunts and stuff."
His transition t defensive tackle really seems to have helped the team up front and he is still just learning the nuances of the position. "The coaches are helping me out with the technique and pass rushing stuff," he said.
He is one guy looking for the new attitude uP front on defense. Harris was seen doing the "chomp" a couple of times after big plays behind the line. He told me he is ready to bring back the "attitude" to The Swamp. "The defensive line should be real good, no excuses this year," he said.
THINGS HEARD AND SEEN: On one particular scramble, backup quarterback Gavin Dickey came to the sideline and got out of bounds without getting popped. One defensive player, yelled. "You should have hit his #$%." It was loud enough for everyone in the stands to hear it… The field goal kickers kicked intermittently during practice. Chris Hetland went 5-6 on the day. Eric Nappy went 3-3 on the day and Brandon Abbaspour went 2-3.
Reggie Lewis was thrown out of a kick return drill by a position coach. Meyer saw what happened and came at him at the top of his lungs, "Do you want out?"
"No!" Lewis replied.
"He pulled your %^& because you screwed up. Do you want out?" Meyer yelled again.
"No!!" Lewis yelled back.
"Well get your $%^ back in there and do it again!!" Meyer yelled and Reggie followed. The crowd ate it up.
Wilbur boomed a couple of 60 yard punts but he was inconsistent, as usual… Faces in the crowd included Channing Crowder, Willie Jackson, Bennie Alexander, Shelley Meyer, tons of high school coaches again, Tim Tebow, C.J. and Curtis Leak and CJ Leak… Check for play by play highlights and offensive stats later today.