Spring Practice Notes - Monday 3/24

Today's practice once again saw a stellar performace by the defense, the ends in particular. Coach updates us on a variety of players including one key player that is likely done for the spring due to a nagging injury.

ON THE SHELF: In an unexpected move junior defensive tackle Vince Wilfork was held out of practice with a hyper-extended elbow. Coker said that the team doctors would check Wilfork tonight but that he believed the injury was not serious. Wilfork was unavailable for comments. Starting flanker Kevin Beard (knee), sophomore Aikeem Jolla (quad), Ryan Moore (hamstring), Sinorice Moss (ankle) and Maurice Sikes (shoulder) are out, while Jarrett Payton returned to practice despite moving gingerly during drills. Payton is recovering from a strained Achilles.

"Jarrett is not full speed," Coker said. "If we had to play today he couldn't play."

Coker added that Moore is likely finished for the rest of the spring.

"His hamstring is pretty damaged," Coker said "I think he will be ready for the fall."

DEFENSE: In what seems to be a reoccurring theme so far this spring Coker again praised the defense- most notably the defensive ends- after practice on Monday. The unit kept the Hurricanes offense- led by junior quarterback Brock Berlin- out of the endzone on three consecutive plays to end the 90-minute session. Redshirt freshman defensive end Baraka Atkins opened the series by deflecting a pass at the line of scrimmage before receiver Darnell Jenkins dropped a pass on second down. SLB Jarrell Weaver defended an incomplete pass intended for Brandon Sebald on the final play.

"I'll tell you the defensive ends- especially John Wood, John Square and Baraka Atkins- did some good things. They're really moving things on the line of scrimmage and putting some pressure on the quarterbacks. I'm really encouraged by their effort so far."

Coker also had kind words for junior tight end Kevin Everett.

"Kevin is really starting to pick things up," Coker said. "When he finally puts everything together he's really going to be a good one."

QB CHALLENGE: Coker added that junior Derrick Crudup, currently listed as the Hurricanes No. 1 quarterback, threw the ball well and was effective running the offense. But Coker continues to hold out on what player is in the lead to win the starting job.

"All four of them are getting the same amount of work but I really don't have a pre-conceived time table right now as who it's going to be," said Coker. "By the end of this week we could have a better idea of what it looks like."

Crudup, who looked sharp in the latter stages of the practice, still likes his chances of starting.

"Right now I feel good," Crudup said. "I'm just trying to go out there and stay within our offense. I'm not trying to do too much at this point because that's when you run into some trouble.

SHARP: Frank Gore, coming off knee surgery to repair a torn ACL, had three long runs two days after scoring the only touchdown in a scrimmage. Gore had two carries for 33 yards and a touchdown on Saturday.

"The danger is playing him but the thing with Frank is he wants to be out there all the time. We still want to bring him back at a monitored pace. Frank has been ready to play for a long time," said Coker.

SIGHTING: Willis McGahee came on the field to greet former teammates and coaches.

The Hurricanes practice tomorrow at 3:30 p.m.

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