Spring Practice Report, Day 2

Day two of spring practice is over and the next step is to start hitting with pads on starting on Wednesday. Today's practice had more to do with working on basics and getting everyone in the right positions. Here are some of the highlights, sites, and sounds of practice:

There were several visitors today. Incoming freshman Joe Gaston was on the sidelines visiting. He also went out on the field to get a feel for what practice is like. He is a well built kid and looks excited about joining the Jackets! Also Greg Gather & Lavon Thomas had family on hand to watch practice.

It looks like the rising star on defense is Kingi McNair. With Daryl Smith out for spring practice, I was curious who would take his place. Well, it looks like Ather will move over to middle from OLB and McNair is now on first team LB. It will be interesting to see if Kingi can hold onto the starting spot. I think there is a decent chance that could happen. From Ather's point of view, he will be able to play all LB spots now and would see lots of playing time either way. It looks like the coaches really like McNair. He's got good speed for an OLB and looks comfortable in pass coverage as well from his days as a Safety in HS. Also, Anthony Lawston is backing up Ather at MLB and Anyansi is now playing on the outside.

The passing game looked fairly sloppy today, which is to be expected this early. But Bilbo probably had the best moments. Thrice his cadence pulled defenders off sides. He also has the most zip on his passes and is starting to make some better decisions. He held onto a ball on one play instead of forcing it into his primary target. He was rewarded by Foschi getting wide open and Damarius hit him for a big gain. Pena still looks generally uncomfortable in just his second practice. He does have probably the strongest arm out there next to Bilbo though. I don't think walk-on Jarod Alford is on the team any longer. He is not out at practice and I noticed that he is no longer on the roster.

The offense is staying with the basics but they are really doing a nice job of moving the ball all around the field and getting a lot of different player involved including the tight ends. Williams, Foschi and Cooper are getting plenty of looks. It appears that Brian Johnson will stay at FB.

I was a little surprised today to see that Xavier McGuire took the bulk of playing time on first team. The coaches must really like him for his size. He makes catches out there even if he doesn't always make it look easy. We were really trying a lot of different combinations but McGuire & Smith seemed to be the one they liked using the most today. Freddie was nearly perfect, as usual, today. He caught every pass thrown his way today, good or bad, except for one tough pass. Curry seemed to be cutting well and with no hesitation. I think he will be back closer to his old form by the end of this spring.

ACE and Sampson both look very good at Tailback. Sampson is being patient, letting the play develop and then is hitting the holes and making good cuts. ACE is going to be a nice power back but it looked like he might have tweaked his ankle today. PJ Daniels made a nice burst through the line on one play that went for a large gain. It looks like we are doing pretty well with our RBs right now and that is without Hollings, Hatch or even Grant.

Alfred Malone looked good on the line today. He forced one of the RBs inside that was trying to run around the line and also caused some problems on the inside.

It looks like Jonathan Smith and LaKeldrick Bridges are getting the initial looks at returning punts.

Reuben Houston had a tough time in the defensive backfield today. Smith and Curry were able to get separation and make several catches on him. Also, Chris Reis seemed to be catching a lot of flack from Coach Tenuta today. Coach was really staying on him. Cox looked solid and Dennis Davis had the day's only interception.

I am looking forward to seeing things really get going starting on Wednesday. There is a lot of intensity out there for them to not be in pads, so we will probably see some pretty spirited practices.

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