One of a number of minor changes in the Cardinals practice schedule each time is the added attention to the special teams. Each aspect is getting added attention. From the usual kick and punt returns to field goal and punt block...each aspect now has a specified time.
"Coach Petrino is really placing an emphasis on all areas of special teams this spring, which is something that we didn't do a whole of last spring." said Coach Tony Levine, the Cardinals Special Teams Coordinator. "I'm pleased. I think they are working hard and understand the schemes. We have a lot of guys returning that were key contributors last season and we we have a lot of young guys that I think will compete for those jobs as well."
Many of the positions that are most up for grabs this spring can be found on special teams.
"It's wide open," explained Levine. "Everybody, from the kickers, to the snappers, to the punters...we treat it no different that offense or defense, everybody has to compete and earn their job, even if last season they were first team or second team guys. Brent Moody is going to have to compete this spring with Todd Flannery, Sam Erny and Chris Purcell to keep his job."
Art Carmody nears personal best
Redshirt freshman kicker Art Carmody neared his personal best of 55-yards when he connected on a 51-yard field goal on Friday afternoon.
However, Carmody knows that the position is wide open and that for now, he as well as the other kickers, are focused on improving their fundamentals.
"Right now we are just trying to work on the timing," said Carmody. "We are all trying to get a lot of reps this spring so we can get some experience behind us."
To our count, Carmody has missed just one field goal through two days, a 47-yard attempt that missed just right. Despite his impressive start to spring practice, Carmody doesn't see that he, or any others have an early advantage on the job.
"I don't think so," Carmody explained. "We all have our strengths and weaknesses."
Louisville Central's James McKinney attended the Cardinals second day of practice. McKinney (6'3, 270) is drawing interest for his abilities at defensive tackle, tight end and fullback. Louisville, as well as Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio State, Miami and Notre Dame have all extended scholarship offers. USC and Oklahoma are expressing high interest as well.
Players Looking Impressive
Sure, it is still early, but here's a short list of players that have looked impressive through two days. Keep in mind, things can change drastically once the pads are on.
WR Montrell Jones: Great hands and very elusive. Also getting some reps at returning punts.
WR Harry Douglas: Great speed, hands and desire.
CB Antoine Harris: May have turned the best performance on Tuesday with numerous pass deflections.
OT Renardo Foster: Has improved his techniques since the end of the 2003 season and will cause headaches for opposing tackles.
RB Reggie Bradshaw: Still behind Gates and Shelton, however Bradshaw has displayed the ability to read the defense and can burst through a hole.
CB Antoine Sharp: Very impressive considering he is learning a new position. Stays stride for stride with receivers on the majority of the routes.
Beginning Saturday at noon, the team will begin wearing full pads. See you at practice!