There were no new faces out at practice this morning, and everyone that was practicing yesterday morning was there again this morning except for Chris Mitchell. When we first got out there Mitchell was nowhere on the field. Then he came jogging out of the locker room and went off on the side to warm-up with a trainer. He did not practice with the WRs the entire time we were allowed at practice, but he didn't appear to be injured.
As I said earlier, the players only did position drills during the time we were allowed to observe, so this report may seem a lot like yesterday's. But anyway, here are some things I saw:
- When we first got into practice the OL was working on different protections and blocking schemes, almost all of which included at least one person pulling, but usually two. The players lined up the same as they did yesterday morning. Will Arnold was practicing like normal again today and didn't seem to have any trouble pulling when it was his turn. He wasn't really limping and didn't appear any stiffer than you would expect a person his size to be.
Offensive line drills
- I said yesterday that I was going to make a point of watching the DL more today. Well I did, and it didn't do much good. During the time I watched them go through drills, a different combination of guys went first each time. On a sled drill, Jackson, Dorsey, Alexander, and Johnson were the first unit, followed by Levingston, Woods, Favorite, and Alem, and Pittman went by himself. In the next drill where they worked on getting off the ball when it's snapped, Jackson, Dorsey, Alexander, and Alem were in the first group. And then in the next drill Jackson, Dorsey, Favorite, and Alem were in the first group. So right now the only thing that seems definite on the defensive line is that Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey will be starting, which I'm sure is a huge shock to everyone.
Defensive line drills
- I didn't really say much on the LBs yesterday, and that's because there is really anything to say. There drills while we are at practice are mostly making pre-snap reads and what to do when the ball is snapped. There's very little movement.
- The DBs were working on their zone coverage schemes. They never really had two corners and two safeties on the field at once because they mostly just work one side of the field at the time. So instead they usually have one corner, one safety, and a nickel. The drills were mostly focused on the corner and the nickel communicating about where the receivers are going and then rotating over to fill their zone.
- The WRs ran a little more variety of routes with the QBs than they did yesterday. Instead of just screens they ran a few slants and outs of varying lengths. I was happy to see everyone catching the ball with their hands out in front of their body. There were also not nearly as many dropped balls as yesterday. They also worked on using their hands to get off jams at the line of scrimmage, with Coach McCarthy lining up as a CB and hitting them with pads at the snap, and they have to knock the pads and break the jam. It was funny when Trindon Holliday came up because Coach McCarthy could barely touch him with the pad before Holliday was past him.
- When the RBs went with the QBs they worked a lot on a little screen play out of the I-formation where the FB goes in motion and at the snap immediately releases out of the backfield, and the RB comes up and gets a chip on the DE rushing up field, and then turns around and to receive the quick dump off pass. Just another small little wrinkle to look for in Coach Crowton's new offense.
That about wraps it up for the morning practice, but I'll be back again this afternoon to give a run down on the freshmen's second day.
OPINIONS & OBSERVATIONS: Sunday morning 8-05
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