Spring Practice Report- April 20 & 22-Offense

TSR looks at the offensive side of the ball and recaps the final week of spring practice.

o On Tuesday, in a drill called “the gauntlet,” in which two coaches stand side-by-side holding pads at chest-level while a third coach with a pad stands behind them, Davin Meggett ran low and hard through the “defenders,” not letting them slow him down. Clay Belton also maintained his speed throughout his run. In the same drill, Tony Logan drew criticism from coaches when he stiff armed one of the pad-holders instead of lowering his shoulders. An elusive Jamarr Robinson glided through “the gauntlet,” as the hits didn't seem to have much of an effect on him. Devin Burns ran a bit high.

o Prospective members of the first offensive line have continued to impress Coach Friedgen, as he said every one of them has either maintained a high level of play or improved. “The other [linemen] are young coming on,” Friedgen said. “They're working hard every day, I got no problem with them.”

o On a Thursday out route drill, Emani Lee-Odai, Torrey Smith and Ronnie Tyler cut to the “sideline” quickly, showing speed and agility.

o D.J. Adams is apparently stepping into the role of a solid goal-line runner. “I think that's an area where he could help us tremendously,” Friedgen said. “Of all the guys, I think D.J.'s probably the best goal-line guy we got.” He marveled at his patience and grit, saying Adams has a “north-south attitude.” “That's sometimes hard to find,” Friedgen said. “He's like little Mighty Mouse.”

o Justin Gilbert is playing more physically than he used to, according to Friedgen, who compared him to Bruce Campbell. Gilbert is “pretty athletic for a big kid,” Friedgen said. “Gilbert's not as stiff [as Campbell]. He's a very good run blocker, I've seen him improve on that.” Friedgen added that Gilbert still has a lot of room for improvement, but that he thinks he'll become a “really good football player,” as his confidence is growing every day.

o In a Tuesday zone blocking drill, Bennett Fulper showed good technique, staying low as he hit defenders. Andrew Gonnella put a devastating hit on another defender holding a pad. Pete White moved swiftly to get to his assignment, impressing Offensive Line Coach Tom Brattan, who said “I've never seen you attack like that.”

o While, earlier this spring, Friedgen floated the idea of moving defensive players to offense and vice-versa, he's now more reluctant to make such a move. “I don't want to rob Peter to pay Paul,” Friedgen said. “I'm afraid if I do that it might strengthen the offense and it might weaken the defense.” He added that, although he'd like to move someone to guard, he doesn't know where to find one, and that it would be tough for the new player to learn the position before the season starts.

o Friedgen and his coaching staff also started putting in a game plan for Navy on Tuesday, but he said it has been difficult to get a good look because of a lack of third-team offensive linemen.

o On Thursday, while working in the “trough,” a structure with strategically placed bars to keep linemen low out of their stance, Paul Pinegar had great form, coming out low and hitting the defender forcefully. Justin Lewis was a bit slow off the ball underneath the bars. Chris Rhodes was a little high during one play of Thursday's zone blocking drill, after which he teamed up with Pete White for a solid block. Pinegar displayed good footwork in the same drill.

o When Lamar Young comes back, Friedgen expects him to play on the second team, “unless Pete White beats him out.” Coaches are also concerned about some academic issues Young has, which might affect his chances of playing next season.

o Friedgen likes the physical way his wide receivers have been playing throughout spring practice, as they have blocked well.


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