Practice Report: Cyclones Sharp

The Cyclones spent their Wednesday morning practicing in the bright sun. Find out which players made the most of their morning. One of which is John Machado, a forgotten man who is climbing up the depth chart.

The Cyclones spent their Wednesday morning on the practice field next to Jack Trice. And the boys had a good day of work, despite the early morning wake-up call. But most importantly they stayed injury free.


"We got 80 plays of scrimmage, so 80 plays offense and defense and lots and lots of kicking snaps today. Everything was live except we didn't take backs and receivers, tight ends or quarterbacks to the ground. It was a real good work day, we came out of it pretty healthy. Anytime you get over 100 plays of offense, defense and kicking game you get a lot of good snaps to evaluate. We have to get on the tape, there is a lot of critiquing and evaluating to do," Dan McCarney said.


Dan McCarney is happy with the progress of his young defense, who is standing tough in practice against one of the most potent offenses in the Big 12.


"There wasn't a lot of them (big plays) which means a pretty young defense is improving and getting better. There wasn't anything eye-catching offensively; it wasn't a track meet or anything." I challenged them. I had two different schedules for this evening, one with free time, one with not. And they responded and we're going to have meetings but I'm going to shorten them up and get them out so they can relax and rest on their own. Tommorow is the last day of two-a-days.


But, despite the quick learning curve of the youthful defense, it's tough to stop Bret Meyer and his group of receivers regardless of your talent.


"We threw and caught the ball pretty well. Whether it's third and long or two-minute situations, or normal moving the chains. We did some real good things, and we ought to be. Most pieces are in place, we better be good throwing the ball. If we're not, something is wrong. But it wasn't a track meet, it was real good competitive, back and forth scrimmage," McCarney said.


The veteran of the receiving corps, Jon Davis, continues to push to see the field for opening game only 15 days away.  


"He had two catches, made a couple real nice plays. He's doing just about everything, we're just trying to be smart about this so we can have him two weeks from tomorrow. He looked good. He continues to amaze all of us. If he stays on track, he's got a real shot to play in the Toledo game," McCarney said.


As for the newcomers who are penciled in for the Toledo game, Mac knows of at least five that are locks to see the field.


Same true freshmen that I have talked about. Frere is definitely going to play. Freddy Garrin is definitely going to play, Rashawn Parker definitely going to play. Josh Johnson, definitely going to play, same with Lee Tibbs. We're continuing to evaluate all those young DB's. And other defensive lineman and (Kris) Means, we're continuing to use the rest of the week to evaluate those guys," McCarney said.



"Purvis is definitely our starting snapper, Brandtner is our starting punter."


Lee Tibbs continues to make noise on the offensive line. The 6-4 325 pound lineman from Okalahoma City has impressed the coaches with his talent and versatility.


"Tibbs can play either guard or tackle. We've got him at tackle right now, but he can play either one. We want to make sure he feels confident in his assignments at tackle before we give him a chance to play guard. He can play either one, physically and talent wise. If he can't be one of the five (starters) we're going to see if he can't be a third guard or a third tackle, so he can play both those positions as a back-up," McCarney said.   


But newcomers aren't the only ones moving up the depth chart. Some veterans in the program have turned some heads as well.


"Bryce Braaksma is no question is going to help us and is going to play. He can play three positions in the defensive line. I'm real happy with his progress. We left Jason Harris at SAM backer in today's work out and he did some good things and showed up. DeAndre Jackson has had a great camp. He's picked up where he left off, only he's better. Bret (Meyer) is real sharp, that whole crew of receivers looked sharp. Milan Moses is doing some good things," McCarney said.


With that said, are Taylor, Braaksma, Curvey and Moorehead starters on the d-line?


"Yeah, but we're rolling a bunch of guys. John Machado is playing better than he has at any time he has been here. He's been a special teams guy. He's in there pushing for a #1 spot, I'm really proud of John. He can play END or RUSH and he is 250 pounds. We know Moorehead is the starter, but he is playing well. In fact, when we were in overtime today, I had him come out for the flip as one of the captains. I'm proud of what he's doing and the improvement he's made. He's going to be more than just a kick-off cover guy."


Machado is a 6'3 250 pound senior out of Miami, who had reconstructive knee surgery last season after tearing his ACL on kick-off coverage. He had 11 sacks as a sophomore at Itawamba CC.


With the strong work today, the players earned some time off to rest up and heal.


"I challenged them. I had two different schedules for this evening, one with free time, one with not. And they responded and we're going to have meetings but I'm going to shorten them up and get them out so they can relax and rest on their own," McCarney said.


Tomorrow is the last day of two-a-days. Fall semester beings on Monday.

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