Coach Kirk Ferentz didn't surprise me when he told us after the practice that he wasn't pleased with the workout. A lot of plays were left on the field, the offensive tempo was lacking, the D-line didn't get enough pressure on the QB, the DBs got beat a lot and there too many penalties occurred, just to name a few things.
That said, the team still showed us a lot. We got a real good look at the young and inexperienced wide receivers, defensive backs and even the specialists.
Here are some things I noticed mixed in with some observations:
Coach Ferentz said that he expected all of those guys to be back by Montana with the exception of Ewen, who is still working back from his second knee injury. Rowell was wearing a boot on his foot and Humpal's right knee was wrapped.
Chandler looked to be the closest to go. He took part in stretching exercises.
When asked about specific injuries, Ferentz played it close to the vest, reiterating that he expected everybody back for the opener. When Humpal came into the interview room, he told us he couldn't talk about his injury.
Unsettled Center – When first-team QB Drew Tate did take part in the action on Saturday, he alternated lining up under Mike Elgin and Rafael Eubanks. Coach Ferentz said that the battle for that position still is being waged. He said they have their top six guys, but then quickly said Rob Bruggeman still is in the race, too.
Legs – Incumbent starter Andy Fenstermaker and true freshman Ryan Donahue shared punting reps on Saturday. There was no doubt that Fenstermaker showed better consistency in the open workout then he did last year, and that's been the word trickling out of camp. However, Donahue showed an amazing leg. The kid gets the ball off of his foot, although he does have to work on getting off faster. And, we'd be in trouble if we needed him to make a tackle right now.
Starter Kyle Schlicher didn't attempt many field goals in the warm-ups, instead letting backups, Daniel Murray and Austin Signor take the reps. Both guys showed good legs out to the 40-yard area. I feel a lot better about the reserves at this position than I did a year ago.
Backup Central – The second team offensive line went Kyle Calloway (LT), Andy Kuempel (LG), Bruggeman (C), Seth Olsen (RG) and Dan Doering (RT). Behind them were guys like Julian Vandevelde, Anton Narinskiy, Rashad Dunn, Nyere Aumaitre and Wesley Aeschliman.
The second team defense looked like this: Justin Collins, Grant McCracken and Kenny Iwebema on the line; A.J. Edds, Zach Gabelmann and Bryon Gattis at LB; with Wilson, Devin Moylan, Harold Dalton and Fletcher in the secondary.
Back on punts were Herb Grigsby, Eric McCollom, Albert Young, Paul Chaney, Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, Andy Brodell, Trey Stross and Dominque Douglas. There were not kickoffs, so I'm pretty sure this was a mix of P and KO returners.
Adrian Clayborn looks the part of a future star. He seems to have a good motor and really gets leverage from his impressive legs. He does need to work on upper body strength, as he did get shoved side to side at times.
Anthony Bowman can fly. He came across and grabbed the corner on one play that really opened eyes.
Speaking of true frosh receivers, I can see why Jon Miller's source told him that Douglas looked like a possible play right away. He's a bit more physical than some of the other young wideouts and runs crisp routes.
Justin Collins is an animal. I'm convinced that he'd be starting at a lot of places. He gets off of the ball well and drives.
It looked like the coaches were using a rotation of King, Kroul and Bain at D-tackle. You got the feeling that there might be some rotating at end as well.
Edwards showed excellent speed in chasing Damien Sims on a long run. The freshman DB had a long way to come and almost caught the RB on an angle.
Iwebema looked like a motivated man on Saturday. He led all the DL with four sacks and was the only one to consistently pressure the QB. I'm not sure how long he'll be in the doghouse, but he needs to be on the field a lot.
Drew Tate and Mitch King were the last two guys signing autos for the fans. They had to be pulled away by team personnel.