Spring Practice Report Four

The fourth football practice of the spring period took place on the east fields, and ran just under two and a half hours on a very windy day in Champaign. "Full Speed!!" was probably today's theme, as it could be heard from Coach Zook on several occasions, as well as Coach Locksley and Coach Mitchell. The staff is trying very hard to get as much work, as many repetitions, and as much learning in as possible this spring.

QB Tim Brasic was back taking snaps with the first team offense after missing the first three practices. Brasic looked very comfortable taking snaps and directing the offense, though looked fairly rusty throwing the football. Kisan Flakes took over most of the 2nd string duties, and Billy Garza the 3rd string.

Coach Zook spent a great deal of hands on time working with Coach Mallory and the defensive backs. They put a great deal of emphasis on the players' technique and footwork.

Today's ‘Oklahoma' drill was particularly intense after new DE Will Davis and OL Jim Labonte had a brief shoving match that fired up both sides of the ball. After the incident, the players became very vocal, and the hitting really picked up. DT Chris Norwell dominated C Ryan McDonald on one particular play, and then was later locked up by a great OL Matt Maddox block. Other highlights included OL James Ryan pancaking LB Antonio Steele, and DL Mike Ware making a one armed tackle while still being blocked by OL Eric Block.

Other quick notes:
  • McDonald had a bit of a rough day at center. He had several high snaps, and hiked one over the QB's head.
  • Catches of the day go to Will Judson on a full extension lay-out, and Jacob Willis hauling in a deep Tim Brasic pass.
  • It's fun to watch DL Josh Norris and OL Akim Millington battle it out. Despite the size advantage of Millington, Norris never quits, and uses his smaller size to get under Millington and never really be fully contained.
  • WR Spencer Jensen and DL Xavier Fulton were also back after missing the first 3 games due to academics. Fulton did not "practice" practice, as he is still recovering from injury.
Post Practice Zook quotes: On how Tim Brasic looked today: "Rusty… but just having him back was good, the way he runs the offense and so forth…he was a little bit rusty, but that's what you expect…He'll be better tomorrow. It won't take long."

On today's practice compared to Saturday's: "It was better. The effort and the intensity was much better. It wasn't that Saturday's practice (was bad) it was just a little bit lethargic, and maybe like a typical spring practice, but we're not in a typical situation. We have to come out here and get better now. Our big thing is that we want to make as much improvement as we can this spring."

On new DE Will Davis: "I think Will's going to be fine. I told somebody earlier, I've been trying to get Will on defense since he got here, but Coach Locksley wouldn't let me."

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