SPRING: In-Depth Day Four Practice Report

It was very sunny and hot out at practice central today. Surprisingly enough there were as few fans out at the practice as I have seen in two years. Maybe a few are recovering from hangovers? Either way, it was a hard practice that Coach Meyer was very happy with and said afterward the team had a good day.

They started off pretty physical running the half circle of life, half Oklahoma drill. In the drill two players square off and try to drive each other back or to the ground. This is basically the same as the circle of life or death drill. It is very physical and taxing on the body. Overall it was about even between offense and defense from what I saw. I was a little late but it is a clear indication that practices are more physical than they have been in the past since they did this drill two days in a row. Carl Johnson lost his helmet three times in the drill.

On offense…

Chris Leak has really looked sharp and is really taking control of the offense, or so it seems. I will have a story tomorrow about this and Coach Meyer commented on such after practice. During the 7 on 7, Leak was yelling "get out of your break, get out of your break!!" to Tate Casey. Meyer followed it up by telling Casey if he broke on time, it was a touchdown.

Tim Tebow is struggling with the deep throws right now. He presses a lot and tries to be a perfectionist. He also hasn't learned the speed of his receivers, but more often than not he isn't making the right throw in getting air under the ball or not. Coach Mullen has been on him, and he will just have to grow and learn, which he is doing. This is the fourth practice in a row where Tebow spent all the time with the passing drills while Leak spent all of his time with the running drills, when the offense is split up that way. . With his affinity for running the ball, Offensive Coordinator and Quarterback Coach Dan Mullen got after Tebow about carrying the ball loose when he ran with it.

Nyan Boateng and DeShawn Wynn got a lot of playing time with the first offense. David Nelson got some reps with the first offense also. Markus Manson drew praise for a couple of moves and plays he made in the 7 on 7 drills. For the most part the first and second team offense stayed in the same depth order.

Of the 11 scholarship offensive linemen out there, Carl Johnson is looks to be lineman number 11 right now as far as the depth chart. I think he is still fighting with weight issues. It seems that Phil Trautwein is playing well and the staff seems to be taking to the big left tackle from New Jersey.

Quarter of spring assessment of the offense…

Leak looks good, better than he looked all of last year. He is the most demonstrative I have seen him as far as dealing with others making mistakes and correcting them. Tebow isn't ready for big time ball just yet.

The running backs haven't been consistent yet. We see flashes of greatness and then ineptitude from all that have played the position so far.

The wide receiver corps looks like it will get 2-3 capable players out of Nelson, Boateng, Louis Murphy, and Mike McIntosh. This will help with the depth issue a ton at some spots on the field. I think there will definitely still be room to get playing time in the fall for the game breaking juke bug receivers like Percy Harvin and Jarred Fayson.

I like the make up of the offensive line. Miller has been the star and been very good. Rissler has been solid at center, and I have not seen a bad snap all spring by either center. Phil Trautwein is coming into his own. The guards are guys the staff really likes.

The second line has an intriguing figure at left guard with Simon Codrington there. Eddie Haupt has been steady. Jason Watkins will get some time on the first unit at left tackle before the spring is over. Maurice Hurt has been great for a true freshman that should be in high school right now. Carlton Medder is probably somewhat of a weak link at right tackle but imposing and has some tools. Carl Johnson, when he gets his weight under control could end up at several different positions.

On defense…

Jarvis Moss is just too much for the offensive tackles to handle, he just has too much speed and with the added weight and strength he can fight off a tackle when they get their hands on him. In one of the nickel defenses they had Moss lined up as a middle linebacker.

Clint McMillan is playing very well on the second team defensive line, but right now, the rest of that group (Javier Estopinan, Lutrell Alford, and Darryl Gresham are good run stuffers, but not very good at getting heat on the quarterback.

Brian Crum got a lot of work today in the nickel defense. They sat Earl Everett form most of that particular period so Crum would get reps. From the looks of things, and talking to Crum afterwards, he needs the reps.

Walk on wide receiver turned safety John Curtis got a lot of work with first team defense at free safety with the injuries to Kyle Jackson and Terrance Holmes. Curtis has good size at 6-2 and 210 pounds and is a good athlete. He made some miraculous type catches on the scout team last year and he brings his athletic ability to the defensive side of the ball this year.

Reggie Nelson is a big time competitor and henceforth a big time trash talker on the field. He brings it every play both physically and vocally.

Quarter of spring assessment of the defense…

When Ray McDonald is healthy and Steven Harris gets back, this defensive line will be crazy good. It is now, but one has to worry about depth with them two out of the mix.

Linebackers are a solid spectacular group with not enough depth. Again one injury is fine at linebacker. Two would not be a good thing at all. Most improved would probably be Ryan Stamper. Walk on Darryon Robinson may get some playing time too.

Avery Atkins has played really well and I think Reggie Lewis has played well also. After a rough first day, Tremaine McCollum has played better, but not spectacular. Jermaine McCollum is out for the spring with a severe wrist injury. Depth for the spring is a huge concern at cornerback.

Two injuries to safeties and the loaded safety positions are suddenly thin. Nelson is a freak. Tony Joiner and Kyle Jackson have played very well. I like the play of Dorian Munroe, but he has been spending a great deal of time at cornerback.

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