HN.com's Open Practice Notes

Hawkeyenation.com Senior Writer Rob Howe was in attendance today with a few thousand Hawkeye fans to watch Iowa's first open practice session of the fall. Howe offers a comprehensive review of practice as he saw it: Who's hot, who's not, true frosh who flashed, veterans who are making their move up the depth chart, Kyle Schlicher's work on replacing 'Nate the Great' and much, much more...

It was a perfect day for football in Iowa City on Sunday - Sunny skies and temps in the mid 70's. The Hawkeyes took the Kinnick Stadium field at about 3:30 and went until about 6 p.m.

A crowd of about 2,500-3,000 took advantage of the weather and the opportunity to get up close with the Hawkeyes, as the players signed autographs for over an hour after practice.

Most of the practice was dedicated to position teaching, but they did get together for some 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 work.

Here's a review of the practice through one reporter's eyes:

BIG FOOT SIGHTING:

Kyle Schlicher looked great. He, David Bradley and the other kickers were the first players to arrive and work out.

Schlicher was true into the low 40's and had plenty of leg. Later, he worked with his field goal unit and a live defense and missed just one of about 10-15 attempts from about the 33-yard line.

It remains to be seen how this kid will handle the pressure in front of 70,000+, but he certainly has the talent.

SAFETY VALVE:

With Sean Considine sitting out with a leg injury, Miguel Merrick moved over and filled in admirably at FS. True FR Charles Godfrey also received work at S and CB. He showed really good instincts for the ball, and he is every bit of the 6-1, 200 at which he is listed.

Harold Dalton also got some work at both CB and S. He looked advanced for a new man on campus.

QUICK FEET:

Damian Sims sits way down the RB depth chart, but I like this kid's moves. He reminds me a little bit of a taller Fred Russell. The FR might be the most elusive of all the Hawkeye RB's. He definitely needs to work on his leg strength, however. His sticks are a little thin.

COMBOS:

The offensive backfield groupings were as follows - First team = Tate, J. Lewis, Mickens; No. 2 - Manson, Schnoor, A.J. Johnson; No. 3 = McCollom, Young, Busch; No. 4 Phillips, Simmons, T. Strube; No. 5 = Alexis, Sims, Sherlock.

N0. 1 O-LINE:

With Mikes Jones out with a leg injury, the first team was LT - Gray, LG - Cronin; C- Elgin; RG - Gates; RT - McMahon.

KF was right in the mix with the tutoring of the offense line. He could be heard screaming at his troops throughout the workout. Some of the young guys were finding the transition to inside zone blocking a little difficult.

CHAMP: Returned to practice Sunday after he and Brandon Myers each had been out with injuries. Champ made some nice catches at TE but also dropped a few and showed signs of rust.

WINDED: Nyere Aumaitre was surrounded by a group of trainers towards the end of practice. He appeared to be a little overwhelmed by the intensity of the workout. Probably a little tougher than what they were running at Woodrow Wilson High in NJ.

LIMPING: WR's Cavin Davis and James Townsend looked to be bothered by leg injuries at different times during the day. Both guys dropped a few passes, but also made some nice catches. KF said that he was pleased with the progress being made at the position.

Lester Erb could be heard yelling at Grigsby and his boys a few times for not practicing at a fast enough tempo.

KF said that Holloway, Hinkel and Davis are the Top 3 WR's right now with Solomon being right there. I don't know what the rotation will be at the start of the season, but the way that Solomon looked Sunday, it's going to be hard to keep him off of the field.

VARIATIONS: KF talked about the installation of a few new wrinkles on offense during practice. It seemed likely that we will see the RB's catching a lot more passes.

Young and Lewis both look very comfortable catching the ball. The offense worked on a shotgun formation with Young in the slot. The QB's also ran a little option.

QB REVIEW: None of the boys looked great on Sunday, but they're working with a lot of different receivers and linemen throughout practice. Tate did connect with T. Jackson on a nice TD when the TE got past Jonathon Zanders and coasted into the end zone.

Tate is clearly the No. 1 guy, and he stepped aside to let Manson get more work in the 11-on-11. Manson looked pretty good, and Eric McCollom did some nice things.

All of the quarterbacks will need to improve their decision making and quickness with which they move through reads and progressions. They're hanging onto the ball waiting for an open receiver way too long on too many occasions.


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