Sunday Football Notebook: week review

After Fridays practice Joker Phillips said this was an important practice for some of the youngster because he wanted to see where some of them were in their progress.

- After Fridays practice Joker Phillips said this was an important practice for some of the youngster because he wanted to see where some of them were in their progress. Of today's scrimmage he said he didn't see any leaders but singled out defensive tackle Mark Crawford as one who was trying to rally the troops. "Guys that you expect like Danny Travathan have to be the leaders, also," Phillips said in disgust. "We've deemed Danny Travathan the leader – I expect him to do it but Mark Crawford is trying, I appreciate that from him." Perhaps all the exhorting from David Turner of Crawford is taking hold.

"As for as the quarterback situation, I thought Hartline did a good job of getting us in the end zone and managing the team and making plays," the coach said. "I thought the young ones did some good things, also but they've got to protect the football." They threw 3 interceptions between them, two by Ryan Mossakowski and one by Morgan Newton. Phillips said – "That's the thing the quarterbacks have to do is not have any negative plays. But I liked the way they bounced back and got their units in the end zone, also."

He said Mike Hartline is ahead of the other two and he said a lot had got to do with the fact they having gotten game ready snaps. He said it is possible there may be a decision made by the end of spring.

Phillips said he was pleased with his young receivers. He said – "This was a big scrimmage for guys like Aaron Boyd and E. J. Fields and they were able to make plays. Brian Adams, he made plays and he made a big drop but he will with being more comfortable in this environment – the stadium. Pleased with what I'm seeing from Chris Mathews. He is a tenacious blocker on the edge. He'll give us a chance to make some big plays and we've got to get the other receivers blocking like him on the perimeter because we've got some backs that we can get in the secondary. We've got to bowl a strike once we get there and Mathews gives us a chance."

Phillips said he liked the play of safeties Josh Gibbs and Dakotah Tyler. They each had an interception and cornerback Anthony Mosely has the other one. "I keep telling our safeties the difference between a good defense and a great defense, is in this league it's safety play. Those are usually are the guys that are unblocked and those guys have got to be great tacklers, they've got to be great cover guys, they've got to be able to play over the top, they've got to be able to play in the box. When you see a great defense, you see a safety making a play for one or two yards."

As far as the weapons around him, Hartline said he couldn't ask for anymore. "We got guys everywhere and that's what's great," Hartline said. "We've got big, tall, strong receivers. I don't think any quarterback in the country could ask for more. We've got an athletic guy in Randall (Cobb). He can pretty much anything he wants to do. The weapons we have pretty much stretch our offense into something we've never seen before. Especially with coach Sanders a new guy taking control of it and he has some great ideas and a brilliant mind." He had good things to say about his tight end play especially Nick Mellilo a guy that's worked extremely hard. "We have more depth of guys that have a feel for their responsibilities."

The head coach recently said he want to see more enthusiasm from his defense. Being jubilant in getting of the field on third down and turnovers. He said that today he didn't like the body language of his defense. On one occasion after an interception David Turner torched the defense coming off the field for not congratulating Josh Gibbs for his feat. Defensive coordinator Steve Brown said – "When things weren't going right nobody really did much about it. The collective group has to get together a congratulate each other. That's how you rally a defense and the offense. You heard the coaches screaming and hollering more than the leaders. What we've got to find is find who the leaders are. Negative things are going to happen and when they do they can't let it happen again. The number one thing we are going to be working on this year is scoring defense. That's how truly great defenses are looked at." Brown was asked if anything positive come out of the day? He pondered for a moment and said – (sigh) "NO. I'm of the mind we've got to stop them every time. So they didn't score for an hour, the score was already 40-0 for God sakes."

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