The Shadow's DB Practice Report

I could hear the ice hit the glasses in the background as The Shadow called to give me a practice report. Since it was barely past the lunch hour, perhaps it was the iced tea being prepared to be served at the Wig & Pen. Perhaps the tea was a New York variety as my Dark Friend at times thinks that he is sophisticated. Usually, however, that occurs later in the day. Fortunately, his new cell phone was working because he had good news to report.

The safety position is looking better and better for the Hawks every practice. Chris Smith may be behind Derek Pagel, but that has not stopped him from working hard to show his skills, including an interception returned for a touchdown in a recent practice. Unfortuantely, #3FS Jermire Roberts has a bit more of a way to go to get caught up. He still is unsure at times of his responsibilities. However, he has an NFL body and ability so look for him to be used in special situations.

Bob Sanders is bigger and scarier than last year. Coach Doyle may have created a monster. He is looking like a potential "All-American."

Antwan Allen is making positive strides daily. He has taken his new role as a starter very well, and does appear to be the front-runner to replace Benny heading into the season.

More good news is the tremendous improvement shown by DB Chigozie Ejiasi on the practice field. He has improved his speed, which was a big question mark last fall. Expect him to give DJ Johnson some breathers this fall at the other corner. As you remember from last year, Chick can stick with the best of them on run coverage.

Jovon Johnson may take a red-shirt year after all. Jovon has great quickness and speed, but he is not up to par with the physical play needed in the Big Ten. He could see time on special teams, though, if he decides not to red-shirt. The staff is hoping that Richie Williams can heal soon so they get a chance to view him on the field. He has more strength than Jovon so he could be better prepared to play this year.

Benny Sapp will start looking for other schools this week. Benny has stayed in contact with players and coaches, but will not receive another chance to earn his roster spot back. Expect him to join another D1 team this fall.

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